The SLAUGHTER of pigs on farms in Scotland has not been ruled out as protests mount against slaughter south of the border.
An outcry was sparked after it was revealed Thursday that farmers had been forced to start slaughtering their pigs due to a shortage of workers at slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.
Hundreds of pigs have already been slaughtered and their carcasses buried or burned.
Scotland’s main pig slaughterhouse is in Brechin and is currently operating for a four-day week due to a lack of manpower, according to the farmers’ union, NFU Scotland.
Anger over the waste increased after Boris Johnson joked that the pigs were going to die for bacon sandwiches anyway.
Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon slammed the PM for trivializing the problem, and angry industry executives said it showed he didn’t care or understand the difference between slaughtered animals and landfilled and killed for the food chain.
Brexit and the pandemic have been blamed for the shortage of workers, but food industry executives reiterated concerns over the delay in import controls on EU goods entering the UK, which according to them, not only undermines UK pork producers in times of crisis, but poses a threat to biosecurity, with African swine fever sweeping the bloc.
They want Westminster to solve the problem by relaxing visa restrictions on meat factory workers and foreign butchers – but their calls have been ignored.
A spokesperson for NFU Scotland said the number of pigs starting to grow on farms was “concerning”.
They said: “Some farms south of the border have reached a point where they are running out of space – we haven’t reached that goal here yet, but we are monitoring the situation.
“It’s a concern but nobody wants to go to the slaughter stage.”
The spokesperson said if the Brechin slaughterhouse could get enough manpower to get back to a five-day week, it would start to reduce the backlog.
They added: ‘The labor shortage is a combination of the pandemic and Brexit and there is a backlog which is growing in most pig farms in Scotland. They are not getting the numbers they want and the stumbling block is the shortage of workers and butchers in slaughterhouses and meat processors.
Although cattle are affected to some extent, they are mostly found outdoors, and the supply chain for beef is longer than that of pork or chicken.