NPA reacts to PM’s comments on potential pig cull
The National Pig Association (NPA) has said that Boris Johnson “played down the prospect of an on-farm welfare cull” during his interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday morning.
Responding to Marr’s comment that more than 120,000 pigs would need to be killed and incinerated if there is “no answer” to the labour shortage, the Prime Minister (PM) said: “You are talking about an issue to do with a particular type of workforce.”
Johnson added: “There is a question about the types of jobs that are being done, the pay that is being offered, the levels of automation, the levels of investment [etc.].”
NPA has said that, within those remarks, the PM has “[blamed] the industry for the staff shortages in abattoirs for not paying enough or creating attractive working conditions.”
Marr went on to prompt the PM for a “short-term answer” to the current problems. Johnson answered: “If I may say so, the great hecatomb of pigs you describe on farms has not taken place. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens.”
Chief executive of NPA Dr Zoe Davies has called the Prime Minister’s remarks “absolutely disgusting”. Tagging the PM in a tweet, Davies said: “I’ve never seen such wilful disregard and disrespect in my life. You should be ashamed @BorisJohnson. This is your mess. Time to fix it.”
Representatives from across the UK pig sector have since come out to protest at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to raise awareness of the current issues and to seek support from government.