An SNP MP has called on the prime minister to provide financial assistance to pig farmers across the UK amid the ongoing labour shortage.
Angus MP, Dave Doogan, has written to Boris Johnson urging him to offer financial support to pig farmers.
It comes as labour shortages in the meat processing sector have resulted in more than 120,000 pigs waiting for slaughter on farms across the UK – many of which face being killed for waste, rather than human consumption.
Pig farmers and pig industry representatives protested outside the Conservative Party conference earlier this week arguing that a lack of skilled butchers could lead to the “emotional and financial disaster” of healthy pigs being destroyed.
The National Pig Association (NPA) also recently wrote an open letter to retailers urging them to support the sector.
They called on retailers to prioritise British pork in their processing plants and to divert butchery staff, who have been working on imported EU pork or on products such as gammons for Christmas, back to British pigs to get the supply chain moving again.
Mr Doogan said: “The scandal surrounding the UK’s pig farm industry lies squarely with the Tory government.
“We fully understand that not all of the current problems are directly related to Brexit, but each problem could, and should, have been dealt with by the Prime Minister.”
He added: “I am urging the Prime Minister to respond immediately, detailing the steps he plans to take in order to prevent the pig sector from collapsing under the weight of policy outcomes and decisions his government have made.
“Only with immediate financial assistance can we prevent this issue from escalating further.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “We understand the challenges that the pig industry has faced in recent months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, labour shortages, accessing co2 supplies, and reduction in exports to the Chinese market.
“We are keeping the market situation under close review and working closely with the sector during this time.”