11 December 2000
Pig of a Christmas for Malton farmers

By Wendy Owen

MALTON Bacon, Britains biggest pig processor, will close its Middlesbrough factory on Friday (15 December) – two months sooner than expected.

The closure was originally scheduled for February 2001. But a Malton spokesman said it was “no longer commercially viable” to keep the plant open.

About 9000 pigs were scheduled to go to the plant this week.

Local farmers face now higher transport costs and lower pig prices as they turn to other markets.

Local pig producer John Rider said he was disappointed that Malton chose to give farmers such short notice that the closure had been brought forward.

“If it had happened at a more reasonable time it would have been easier to accept and cope with,” he said.

“Christmas is always difficult anyway because of the shorter working week. I expect we will see slightly lower prices and extra transport costs.”

That view was confirmed by George Baxter, an agent for Allied Livestock Marketing, which was planning to send about 4000 pigs to Middlesborough.

Producers have had the benefit of a slaughter point on their doorstep for many years. Now they will pay the same transport costs as other producers, he said.