LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Britain’s National Pig Association urged the country’s retailers to continue buying local pork and not cheaper EU products on Friday, warning that many producers would go bust if they were not properly supported.
An acute shortage of butchers and slaughterers in the meat processing industry has left processors operating at a 25% drop in their capacity, meaning tens of thousands of pigs are being left on farms and are facing an imminent cull.
“We are also aware that some retailers, who have to date been very supportive of their British supply chains, are now considering moving over to EU pork because it is much cheaper,” the association said in an open letter to retailers.
“This would make our situation so much worse to the point that many more pig producers, in addition to those responsible for the 27,500 sows we already know about, would have no choice but to exit the industry.”
The labour shortage in the industry has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy, which has restricted the flow of east European workers.
The pig association said that despite attempts to persuade the government to ease immigration rules, it appeared to have reached an impasse.