NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has urged the Home Office have a rapid of its decision not to allow temporary visa for butchers over the next few months.
Zoe told the BBC Farming Today programme that the Government missed a golden opportunity to help save the pig sector when it announced 5,500 temporary visas for poultry workers in the run-up to Christmas, but ignored industry pleas to allow more butchers to come and work in the UK.
You can listen to the interview HERE (8 mins)
“The poultry visa scheme we understand is largely about turkeys,” Zoe said. “For Government, this is about saving Christmas. That is really disappointing for us because we have been trying for weeks on end to try and get them to understand that this situation is about animals’ lives, it’s about welfare on farms.
“It is a critical situation that is getting worse. The one opportunity they had to do something meaningful, they completely ignored it and rebuffed us.”
Zoe acknowledged that temporary visas would only be a short-term fix, but, critically, anything that can boost the labour supply would enable the industry to into the backlog and ease some of the immense pressure building up on farms, which in some cases are on the verge of having tio cull stock.
Longer-term, she urged the Home Office to take a fresh look at its immigration and recognise that some sectors, such as meat plants, cannot fill their labour requirements with domestic, despite huge efforts to do so.