‘Out of touch’ Johnson accused of ignoring the plight of pig farmers

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Boris Johnson has been accused of failing to take seriously the plight of pig farmers who face the prospect of having to cull tens of thousands of healthy animals due to an acute shortage of butchery and abattoir workers.

Farmers have warned that up to 120,000 growing animals will have to be slaughtered on farms and then incinerated because they cannot go to the abattoir and they have nowhere left to house them.

Despite recent media reporting on the issue, the Prime Minister appeared to be unaware of the problem when he was questioned on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

His initial response was to tell the presenter: “I hate to break it to you but I am afraid our food processing industry does involve the killing of a lot of animals. I think your viewers need to understand that.”

When it was pointed out to him the whole problem was that they could not be sold for food and they would have to be disposed of on the farms, he accused the presenter of “trying to obfuscate”.

He added: “The great hecatomb of pigs that you describe has not yet taken place, let’s see what happens.”

For Labour, shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said his comments showed ministers were “out of touch” with the problems of a key industry.

“The Prime Minister needs to take this seriously,” he said.


By Gavin Cordon / Evening Standard

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