Gloucestershire pig farmer has 'sleepless nights' over butcher shortage

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A shortage of butchers is causing concern for pig farmers in Gloucestershire as fewer animals are being processed for meat.

The shortage means the pigs are kept on farms for longer which results in higher labour costs and increased food bills.

The animals also decrease in value as they gain more weight.

Farmer Sophie Hope says her farm will "inevitably" make a loss this year.

"It is certainly a cause for sleepless nights. I am worried that if this situation doesn't resolve I might come across more of a problem", she said.

"It's not just me, I've seen other farmers, I've seen the anguish in their faces.

"They have thousands of pigs backed up on farms and if their businesses suffer then ultimately mine will because we'll end up without a British pig industry at all."

Sophie joined a protest at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester earlier this week to raise awareness of the issue.

On October 4th 2021 pig farmers protested outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Credit: ITV News

The National Pig Association says at least 600 pigs have already been culled due to animals becoming "backed up on farms".

They have also seen a 25% decrease in the amount of pigs being processed each week.

In a statement, the organisation said: "Since Brexit and following the pandemic, the labour shortage has become much worse. 

"Industries are now competing with each other for a dwindling pool of workers.

"We need approximately 12,000 workers right now."