décembre 8, 2022


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‘Out of alternatives’: Vets perform pig abortions as labor shortage crisis continues | UK news

Veterinarians and farmers took the « spirit-destroying » step of performing abortion procedures on pigs because they « ran out » of alternatives.

It comes because many can no longer deal with Accumulation of animals on farms.

The shortage of butchers means that meat processors are taking about 25% less animals than contracted, leaving farmers with impossible choices to avoid overcrowding and consequent breach of luxury standards.

Sky News has seen exclusive survey data from the National Pig Association (NPA) indicating that 11% of farmers have already prepared healthy pigs, with another 10% saying they will need to do so within the next two weeks.

The combination of Brexit and the pandemic has left the meat processing industry chronically understaffed

Officially, only 16,000 such killings have been recorded with the NPA, but this number is based on self-reporting and is likely an underestimate, with the reality likely being thousands, possibly tens of thousands of deaths but not destined for the food chain per week.

Farmers, veterinarians and industry alike have said what is currently happening is the worst culling of healthy animals in the history of UK pig farming, describing the situation as « disgusting », « unforgivable » and one caused by « human error ».

Farmers have been warning for months that labor shortages could lead to culling if not intervened, and many are taking drastic measures to find alternative housing for their pigs to avoid this.

“It’s now a common conversation that I have every day,” says Duncan Berkshire, a pig veterinarian with 17 years of experience.

While consulting about culling animals For some time, he had to perform abortion procedures for a client for the first time in the past few days.

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« It destroys the soul, it completely destroys the soul, » he said.

“I certainly did not work in the veterinary profession discussing how we would kill healthy animals.

« Your initial reaction is ‘there has to be an alternative’, and that’s what I think is really important for people to understand, that we’ve run out of alternatives now, and there’s no way to do that for anyone else cause other than the fact that there’s nothing else we can do » .

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Labor shortage stresses food supply chain

A combination of Britain’s exit from the European Union The pandemic has caused a chronic shortage of workers in the meat processing industry since the summer, as many migrant workers who used to take on these roles have returned home.

The British Meat Processors Association says it is still 15-20% less staff than it needs and is still working against « all the unpredictability » COVID-19 It still brings to daily operations. »

In an effort to ease the crisis, the government announced last month that it would offer 800 visas to foreign butchers, an incentive payment for slaughter and additional funding for stockpiling private freezers; The idea is that carcasses of pigs slaughtered in this way can be preserved and later slaughtered to help remove some of the animal buildup on farms.

pig farm
Farmers face an impossible choice to avoid overcrowding

But neither of them has eased the crisis yet.

« There’s been a lot of issues with trying to find the right people to come to the country that they want to come to on a temporary basis, » NPA’s Zoe Davis explains.

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« When they come, you have to find housing for them, you have to train them until it takes time. »

She added: « The other schemes, special stocking and incentive reward for slaughter, came at a time when operations were preparing for Christmas.

« They’re trying to take out their Christmas orders for retail customers, and they don’t want to stock up on things!

So these two measures won’t help us effectively before Christmas. »

A government spokesperson said: “We continue to work closely with the pig industry to help them respond to the challenges posed by the epidemic, including the loss of exports to the Chinese market for some pig manufacturers and the global disruption of carbon dioxide supplies, all of which have contributed to the pig buildup.”