A top vet has warned that the Prime Minister is not taking a national pig cull seriously, despite some 600 having already been shot dead at farms.
The National Pig Association (NPA) warned that a mass cull will be “the next stage as there is a shortage of butchers and abattoir labour shortages.
Vet Duncan Berkshire who is liaising with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is planning any mass cull that has to take place.
Boris Johnson asked a reporter if he has ever eaten a bacon sarnie who then said, “Those pigs when you ate them, were not alive.”
Berkshire said the Prime Minister’s remarks were “enormously disappointing.”
Berkshire told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “Unfortunately those discussions are around the horrific case where we are looking at not only when, but also how, we will have to enact a cull of healthy animals which would then just go for incineration.”
He added that the number of pigs that farmers have already culled are unfortunately starting to rack up.”
He said, “We are already at a few hundred at the moment.
“But if we don’t get movement soon on the backlog of pigs that is present on farms at the moment, we are going to have to enact some of these more drastic actions.”
Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association said there is a big difference between animals being killed for food and culled.
She said, “These animals were going to feed the nation. It should not be allowed to happen.”
Pig farmer Kate Morgan said the Prime Minister’s comments were an “absolute insult” and a “kick in the teeth” to farmers.
Berkshire was asked on the Today programme what he thought of Johnson’s remarks, he said, “He [Johnson] is unable to see the difference between what we have as a UK supply chain…[and] the absolute abhorrent food wastage that will be the case if we end up having to shoot healthy pigs.”
He added, the animals “in every other way would be fit for everyone to eat but we are just going to end up having to put them in a skip and send them for incineration.
“It’s distressing enough just having to start planning for that absolute wastage.”