Farmers in East Yorkshire are warning they could be forced out of business if the government doesn’t do more to boost staff numbers in the supply chain.
It comes as a lack of abattoir workers meant 10,000 pigs were culled in the region in the run-up to Christmas.
Without abattoirs to process the pigs, farms simply run out of space to keep them, resulting in the culls.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council was told those staff shortages were fuelled by Brexit, with many workers returning to their home countries.
Sisters Kate Moore and Vicky Scott, who run a pig farm in Driffield, have called the action “criminal.”
Kate said: “It’s a disgrace that 35,000 across Great Britain have been killed on farm and wasted. It’s a complete waste. It’s criminal what has happened.”
The sisters would normally sell around 90,000 pigs a year. They are contracted to a certain number of pigs to go to slaughter every week. But currently those contracts are not being taken due to the staff shortages. They are down 30%, losing between £25 to £30 per pig.
“We’re the ones who are suffering financially and emotionally. The farmers are taking the hit in every way”, said Vicky.
“We are suffering massively through no fault of our own and the government have to be held responsible for that.”
by Amelia Beckett / ITV
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