UK releases visas for 5,500 workers in poultry farms
The British government decided to release a number of temporary work visas for 5,500 foreigners that are to fill the workforce gap in the poultry industry. Visas will expire after 24 December 2021, according to the government. In addition, the Department for Transport has authorized 5,000 truck drivers to come to the UK to transport food and fuel in the run-up to Christmas. However, the pig sector is still waiting for news that will prevent a collapse.
More than 100,000 pigs are kept in farms due to due to delays in slaughterhouses and processing units all over the kingdom. Some farmers have run out of space and many more are at or near the limit. While some processors are working with the industry to reduce the backlog, preparations are being made for a welfare-motivated cull on the farm, which is increasingly likely to occur. In this sense, the National Pig Association (NPA) has asked the government to extend its offer of short-term visas to the country's pig industry.
While some processors are working with the industry to reduce the backlog, preparations are being made for a welfare-motivated cull on the farm, which is increasingly likely to occur.
NPA Executive Director Zoe Davies says, “We are extremely disappointed that the government has ignored repeated requests for temporary butcher visas, despite overwhelming evidence of the impact this is having on the entire supply chain. We desperately need those work permits, even for a short period of time, to help us make up for the delay. It is not just about saving Christmas, which seems to be the government's sole objective, but about protecting the welfare of the pigs and avoiding an environmental disaster."
The NPA is also asking retailers to play their role in reducing backlog by prioritizing British product over imported. "Retailers can do a lot to help ease the backlog and we believe they have a responsibility to do so given their commitments to British pork We urge them to prioritize British products in processing plants rather than relying more and more on imports as this will move more pigs through the chain. In particular, we are concerned that some imports are entering the UK, being slaughtered here and consuming valuable labor resources, which is not helping to move more pigs through the supply chain," Davies warned.
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