UK seeks 800 foreign butchers to avert pig cull in labor shortage


The UK is looking for as many as 800 foreign pork butchers to help ease a severe backlog of pigs awaiting slaughter.

The move is aimed at supporting an industry contending with a glut of hogs and a worker shortage driven by the pandemic and Brexit. As of the start of this month, 120,000 pigs had nowhere to go, raising the risk of massive “welfare” culls, or animals that are used as pet food instead of pork. 

Brexit has left Britain with a shortage of workers in industries from farming and banking to retail and transportation. The food sector has been particularly impacted, with a lack of truckers to transport goods, while Covid-19 protocols make processes slower.

The foreign pork butchers will be eligible to apply for seasonal visas through the year’s end that allow them to travel and work in the UK for six months, the Department for Transport said in a news statement, which also unveiled the relaxation of trucker rules in an effort to curb supply chain disruptions.  

The government also plans to fund storage allowing meat processors to store slaughtered pigs for three-to-six months.

Image courtesy of Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

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