People from across the pig industry have gathered today at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to urge the Government to support the British pig sector as producers face a devastating welfare cull on farms.
Well in excess of 100,000 pigs are backed up on farms due largely to shortages of labour in pork processing plants. Many producers have exhausted their contingency plans and have nowhere else for the pigs to go.
While efforts are continuing within the supply chain to find solutions, there have been reports that some producers are already having to cull pigs on farms, a situation that threatens to become more widespread.
The industry is calling for the Government to act by issuing temporary visas to butchers to help reduce the backlog and ease the pressure on the short-term.
The protest comes the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made light of the industry’s plight arguing that any pigs killed on farm would have been slaughtered anyway and that the ‘great hecatomb of pigs you describe on farm has not taken place’.
He suggested the labour shortages were the industry’s fault for not offering wages and conditions that made the jobs attractive to British workers.
The protest, attended by around 100 people from across the industry generated a huge amount of publicity, with numerous news outlets lining up to speak to organisers Vicky and Morgan, pig vet Duncan Berkshire and others.
The protesters managed to speak to some high profile figures, including the PM’s father, Stanley Johnson (main pic) and former Cabinet Minister David Davis.