A summit was held in the UK to solve the "acute" crisis in pig farming
British pig farmers are in a "desperate" situation - thousands of healthy animals are being culled, and producers are leaving the industry, it was reported at a recent summit dedicated to this crisis.
Farmers held a demonstration ahead of a meeting in York on Thursday, when industry representatives met with the Department of the Environment (Defra) about the challenges facing the pig sector.
The National Pig Breeding Association (NPA) stated that the stock of ready-to-process pigs, which must be kept on farms due to a shortage of butchers, is currently estimated at more than 200 thousand heads.
The industry body said it was aware of 35,000 healthy pigs that had been culled on farms because of a shortage of processing capacity, although this was probably an underestimate, and 40 independent producers had recently left the sector.
Producers are suffering from a shortage of EU workers caused by Brexit and the pandemic to process their pigs, as well as the high cost of animal feed, which must be kept on farms for longer before being sent to slaughterhouses.
Healthy pigs are culled by farmers who lack space, creating food waste, while producers are also penalized for overweight animals processed late, the NPA said.
The NPA and the National Farmers Union (NFU) held an emergency summit with Defra, attended by representatives of major retailers and pork processors, farmers warned that the meeting was vital for the industry.