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Empower local abattoirs to speed up pig slaughtering says Welsh Conservative amid Brexit backlog

13 Oct 2021 2 minute read
Three little pigs. Picture by Liz West (CC BY 2.0).

The Welsh Government should look at ways to make it faster and easier for local abattoirs to slaughter pigs, a Senedd member has said.

Brexit and the pandemic has caused a chronic shortage of butchers, leading to a massive backlog of 120,000 pigs on farms after they should have been slaughtered.

Aberconwy Senedd Member Janet Finch-Saunders said that the Welsh Government should look into speeding up the process.

“At a time when many farms have seen 25% fewer pigs slaughtered each week, which has seen numbers rapidly stack up on farms, it is time for the Welsh Government to proactively investigate what we can do to help strengthen the sector in Wales,” she said.

“It is just nonsensical for pig farmers in Conwy County to currently have to travel to either Corwen or Wrexham to slaughter their pigs, when we could empower abattoirs like Llanrwst to undertake the skilled work. This would strengthen our rural economy and circulate money where it is needed most.

“The Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs needs to take a lead on championing Welsh abattoirs, and putting a strategy in place to see as many as possible licenced to handle pigs.”

‘Adjust prices’

Hundreds of pigs have already been slaughtered on British farms and their meat wasted because of a lack of workers to process them for sale, the industry warned.

Phil Woodall, general manager at Thames Valley Cambac, a leading pig marketer, said first and foremost the sector has been hit by “a vast shortage of butchery staff as a result of Brexit, aggravated by the pandemic”.

“We are effectively exporting our industries to countries that have worse animal welfare standards, and the Government are standing by and watching this happen,” he told the i.

Meanwhile, EU pig farmers have been limited in their ability to export pork to China, a crucial market, because of bouts of African Swine Fever. This meant that more cheap imported pork was coming from the EU.

Speaking at a Conservative conference event last week, environment secretary George Eustice conceded that to get the backlog of surplus pork out of the door, farmers might have to slash their prices in the short term.

He said: “We might need to adjust prices to clear the backlog. Farmers won’t appreciate that with businesses at risk now.”

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Ben Coates
Ben Coates
2 years ago

The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

From Janet Finch-Saunders’ bio on her Senedd page: “Outside of politics, Janet is passionate about animals and marine conservation”. Passionate about eating them only, it seems.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
2 years ago

“Brexit and the pandemic has caused a chronic shortage of butchers”. No, just Brexit.

Whilst I agree that livestock should be slaughtered as locally as possible (for very good environmental and animal welfare reasons with the added benefit of more local employment) I suspect the Tories are trying to use this as an opportunity to drive down standards.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
2 years ago

Llanrwst resident here, so Finch-Saunders is my Senedd Member – had Labour seen sense, Aaron Wynne (Plaid Cymru) would have won, as it was Labour and Plaid allowed her to sneak through – sort this out for next time please!
She is a danger and also very expensive (check out her expenses – suppose having numerous properties makes you a tad greedy!).
Brexit will see off her ilk, eventually, her Party too, just wish we were not all going to have to suffer first.

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