Brexit: UK pig exports ‘facing a crisis’

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A “perfect storm” of Covid impacts and post-Brexit bureaucracy threaten to plunge British pig farmers into a crisis, an industry body has warned.

The National Pig Association (NPA) said there were 100,000 animals in the UK unable to enter the food chain.

Farmers in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which has about a third of the backlog, said prices had dropped as pigs grew too fat to meet industry standards.

The government said it continued to work closely with producers.

NPA policy adviser Charlie Dewhurst said members had reported delays due to “excessive bureaucracy” and new rules governing exports since Britain officially left the EU.

The coronavirus pandemic has also hit meat producers’ staffing levels, causing “a major problem in the food supply chain”, he said.

“Absenteeism in the processing units and the export problems have really exacerbated what was already a tough time for the industry,” he said.

Farmers told the BBC they have found themselves saddled with animals they would usually have sold.

Anna Longthorp, who runs Anna’s Happy Trotters, based in Howden, East Yorkshire, said “abattoirs want pigs that are a particular weight”.

“If you get a few weeks on the trot when pigs aren’t going to the abattoir it causes real issues.

“It means we don’t have enough room for them and the pigs are getting bigger and bigger [and] we can’t stop them growing.”



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