Upbeat NPA visas to be granted to foreign butchers

The National Pig Association (NPA) said there was growing optimism the government would allow more butchers to come to Britain on temporary visas to help reduce the backlog of pigs at the farm.

Overcrowded farms have received as little as 70 p / kg for “distress loads” of overweight pigs as the sector faces a shortage of 12,000 butchers and humane slaughter starts.

A backlog of 120,000 to 150,000 pigs should have been cleared for slaughter, says the NPA.

See also: Overweight pigs report 70 p / kg as humane slaughter begins

The government is expected to agree on a temporary visa regime for foreign butchers, and NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said she believes the last hurdle is the level of English required.

“I am quietly optimistic. I honestly believe the message has finally reached the people who need to hear it, ”she told the BBC. Agriculture today.

“In this context, we have asked the government to lower the level of English required.

“He’s the last blocker now – it’s not the wages as they pass the £ 25,000 threshold. Now it comes to the English level requirement and the bureaucracy of the process in terms of applying for these visas. “

Pig sampling leave

A month-long pig harvest leave has been confirmed by AHDB and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) in response to the growing backlog of pigs on the farm, falling prices and high production costs.

The move will save growers around £ 1million in levies in November and has been endorsed by English and Scottish ministers.

The intervention follows discussions between the two meat levy agencies, the government and industry groups to identify ways to help pork producers during the crisis.

Mike Sheldon, President of AHDB Pork, said: “These challenges, particularly a shortage of skilled workers, add to the pressure on margins largely due to rising feed costs.

“The AHDB is already undertaking work to help the sector, including providing the government with independent evidence of the seriousness of the situation and examining how, together, we can support meat processors to facilitate the labor supply. ‘artwork. “

QMS President Kate Rowell stressed the importance of supporting pork producers.

“The pig sector plays an important role in the Scottish agricultural industry and this relief will help producers work tirelessly to take care of the animals in their care,” she said.

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