MP for Gordon Constituency Richard Thomson has written to the Prime Minister on the crisis affecting Scottish pig producers.
The move follows a visit to an Aberdeenshire pig farm with senior officials from NFU Scotland where the MP heard at first hand the issues affecting the sector.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Thomson states:
“The labour crisis affecting the pig sector is particularly acute leading to a backlog of pigs on Scottish pig farms and a collapse in price that is rapidly eroding confidence. Almost all pigs are now being sold at a loss and the UK Government must urgently engage with the problems facing the industry in a constructive manner and listen to their requirements, otherwise, there may not be a viable pig industry for much longer.
“I strongly urge you, even at this late stage, to urgently reconsider the stance the UK Government has taken on these matters and to meaningfully engage with industry bodies to ensure jobs are protected, businesses survive, and a mass cull of healthy animals can be avoided, particularly at a time when too many are going short of food.
“An apology for your exceedingly crass comments regarding the possibility of a mass cull of pigs would also be appropriate in the circumstances.”
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“There were a range of issues raised with me at my meeting with North-east NFUS members, but most pressing is the circumstances facing our pig producers.
“It cannot be right that we are facing a cull of perfectly healthy animals, reared in a high-welfare environment because there isn’t the labour to transport them or process them, meanwhile foreign imports of bacon and pork can enter the domestic market unhindered. It makes no sense on an economic level, or on an environmental level, and leaves our producers hovering on the brink.
“I hope that even at this late stage, the Prime Minister will recognise that the sector needs help otherwise we may lose this capacity to produce our own pigmeat and become reliant on foreign imports.”