Farmers could be forced to slaughter approximately 100,000 pigs because of a post Brexit shortage of butchers to work in abattoirs.
Leading figures in the livestock industry say that the animals face being destroyed and burned because Home Secretary Priti Patel has failed to include the job on a list of shortage occupations, which would enable foreign butchers to enter the United Kingdom on a skilled worker visa.
One said they found it baffling that ballet dancers were on the list, but not butchers.
Pig farming is the latest industry to be hit by shortages of workers after hundreds of thousands of EU citizens went back to their home nations as a consequence of Brexit and the pandemic.
A shortage of HGV drivers, who are also not on the list, has led to bare supermarket racks and pushed some driver’s wages over £50,000, while growers in Scotland said last week that they had to destroy 2.5 million broccoli crowns and 1.5 million cauliflowers because of staff shortages.
Last week, Greggs became the latest fast-food chain to notify customers about shortages of goods, joining McDonald’s, Nando’s, KFC, Beefeater and Subway.
Dr Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, said a 15 per cent shortfall of abattoir butchers had led to a backlog of 85,000 pigs awaiting slaughter, increasing by 15,000 every week.
Just over 200,000 pigs are sent to the abattoir every week, and unless they can be butchered soon, they will have to be destroyed as it becomes expensive to maintain them.
Dr Zoe Davis said that the migration advisory committee had recommended to the Home Office that butchers should be on the Shortage Occupations List, but their advice had been disregarded, and she said that you have ballet dancers on it but not butchers – you couldn’t make it up even if you tried. A review of the list isn’t expected until next year.
The worker’s shortages have led to worries that much of this year’s yield could be left decomposing in the fields.
The most recent labour market survey by the National Farmer’s Union determined that more than a third of vacancies for horticultural workers were going unfilled.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a total of 27 per cent of food and accommodation firms have reported lower than average stock levels.
A report by accountants Grant Thornton found more than 500,000 vacancies across food and drink businesses.
Nick Allen, of the British Meat Processors Association, said that no one was asking that they return to freedom of movement. The UK voted to leave the EU so that their politicians could be in charge of the decisions.
It’s appalling to see these smart animals reared like this, and then to kill them for nothing. We should be kinder to these animals, and I These animals get killed for their meat but to kill them in cold blood is beyond barbaric.
Although taking the life of something because you like how they taste and being kinder are contradictory, and I guess it can never be kind to kill an animal that wants to live but to kill them in cold blood because they’ve got too many of them is beyond belief, and are these people paying for these animals to be destroyed?
Let them wander in the field, they could do that, but sadly for the piggies, house building and all the necessary infrastructure takes precedence. Housing is of course, much more important than the production of food for animals and humans, so this isn’t leaving many opportunities for animals to roam and graze.