Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th November 2021.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent a mass cull of pigs in the UK.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have been working closely with industry throughout this period to understand how best to support it in response to the challenges caused by the pandemic, including the loss of the Chinese market to several processing plants, disruption to CO2 supplies, and a temporary shortage of labour, specifically skilled butchers in the processing sector. In response to these challenges, we recognise that in recent months a significant number of pigs have had to be kept on farm

On 14 October, the Government announced a package of measures to support the pig industry and to seek to reduce the animal welfare implications of pigs backing up on farms.

The package of measures for support includes the approval of up to 800 visas for pork butchers, a Private Storage Aid scheme, and a Slaughter Incentive Payment Scheme to increase the throughput of pigs at processors and working to identify new export markets for pork with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), particularly lightly-processed pork.

In England and Scotland, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Quality Meat Scotland have both introduced a suspension on the statutory levy for pig farmers and producers during November 2021 – suspending payments of the levy pig farmers and producers are required to pay. This will amount to savings for the sector of just under £1 million.

The Government will continue to monitor the evolving situation and work closely with the industry through this challenging period.

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