Party conference draws demo over pig sector crisis

Comments made over the weekend by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the current crisis facing the country’s pig sector prompted a demonstration outside the Conservative party conference in Manchester yesterday.

With almost all pigs now being sold at a loss, angry pig farmers said that the UK government had to waken up and take immediate action to address the shortfall in staff which was at the root of the sector’s problems.

Chair of NFU Scotland’s pig’s committees, Jamie Wyllie, who took part in yesterday’s demonstration, said that the issue of staff shortages across pig farms, haulage, abattoirs and meat processing had been repeatedly explained to the government, along with calls for urgent action.

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“The labour crisis across the whole Scottish pig sector is driving a backlog of pigs on Scottish pig farms and a collapse in price that is rapidly eroding confidence,” said Wyllie.

“We need an immigration system that fully recognises the acute need for staff up and down the whole food supply chain and that butchers and food processors are every bit as deserving of visas as some of the industries currently listed on the government’s Shortage Occupation List,” he added.

He said that the union had been in touch with Scotland’s pig farming co-operatives and while he said that concerning backlogs were emerging on Scottish pig farms, both co-ops were committed to helping producers find outlets for those pigs in Scotland and other parts of the UK - albeit at the cost of a heavy discount in prices.



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