BBC Breakfast: Pig farmer issues warning over 'huge backlog'
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Pig farmers Kate and Vicky have warned that the shortage of carbon dioxide threatens the production of pork, saying “there’s already a backlog in abattoirs because of Brexit and the pandemic”. The warning came as the government said it had been holding emergency talks with meat processors amid a shortage of carbon dioxide.
Pig farmer Kate told BBC Breakfast: “Pigs go to slaughter every week. We’re sending about 1700 Every week.
“And they are stunned with CO2.
“And if that runs out, then we can’t send them, and they’ll just be a huge, huge, huge backlog on farms.”
Pig farmer Vicky Scott continued: “There’s already a huge backlog as well because of Covid and Brexit.
“There’s not enough stuff in the abattoirs to butcher the pigs.
“And so we’ve already got a big, big backlog on farm.
“And so this is just a double whammy.”
The shortage in carbon dioxide has been sparked by record energy prices.
It forced two US-owned fertiliser plants that produce 60% of the UK’s CO2 supplies to close last week.
The slaughter process has two stages: Stunning and ‘sticking’ (neck cutting).
Stunning causes an animal to lose consciousness so the animal can’t feel pain when it’s slaughtered.
CO2 is used in the meat industry to stun animals before slaughter.
Iceland boss Richard Walker has previously told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that UK food supplies will be under threat long before Christmas.
He said: “This is no longer about whether or not Christmas will be okay, it’s about keeping the wheels turning and the lights on so we can actually get to Christmas.
“This could become a problem over the coming days and weeks, so this is this is not an issue that’s months away.”
Poultry producers have also said the shortage “threatens national food security”.
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