Farmers could be forced to slaughter “perfectly healthy pigs” if the UK Carbon dioxide deficiency further, a national trade organization has warned.
The National Pig Association (NPA), which represents the UK’s industry, told ITV News that gas supply problems are causing meat production lines to shut down and thousands of pigs being kept on farms.
Mass killings could take place if the gas shortage lasts two weeks, farmers said.
NPA Managing Director Zoe Davies added: “If this carbon shortage is not corrected very quickly, we will be a few weeks away from slaughtering perfectly healthy pigs on the farms and throwing the carcasses in the bin.”
The NPA said CO2 is used to stun animals before slaughter, and if farmers can’t stun and kill them in a slaughterhouse, they have to kill them on farms. The association estimates that some slaughterhouses will run out of CO2 by Friday and that 95,000 pigs are already secured on the farms due to labor shortages.
The government held crisis talks with industry leaders over gas shortages on Monday. The problem has been attributed to a number of factors, including a cold winter that depleted stocks, high demand for liquefied natural gas from Asia, and a reduction in supplies from Russia.
Pig farmers said if CO2 supplies are not restored, the UK could see the first factory farming in a few weeks since the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak 20 years ago.
The NPA said widespread culling was “worrying” and “financially ruinous”.
Zoe Davies describes how a cull would affect farmers
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the government resolving this problem as soon as possible,” said Zoe Davies.
On Monday, Economics Minister Kwasi Kwarteng described warnings about the gas crisis as “alarmist” and insisted he “don’t expect any supply emergencies this winter” after Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) trade association said prices had increased 250% since January – up 70% since August alone.The top Tory, who briefed MPs on the crisis talks he had with the industry the previous Monday, said: “There is absolutely no question that the lights will go out.”
Mr Kwarteng said the UK’s domestic gas supply along with imports from trusted partner Norway means the supply is not at risk.However, four companies have already slumped crippling prices and some analysts believe that another 40 could fall by the end of winter, a situation that would be a major problem in the UK.