13 September 2000
Pig slaughtering cancelled over fuel

by Alistair Driver

THE fuel crisis bringing the country to a standstill has forced the UKs biggest pigmeat processor to halve the number of pigs it slaughters this week.

Yorkshire processor Malton Bacon Factory will only slaughter around 15,000 British and foreign pigs this week, compared with 30,000 in the last few weeks.

A Malton spokesman said the difficulties in getting staff and pigs to the plant because of fuel shortages forced the drastic move.

One East Anglian farmer who was finally able to move pigs this week when swine fever movement restrictions were lifted was hit by the cancellation.

He had hoped to send a batch of 3000 pigs to the factory.

The fuel crisis is wreaking havoc among already crisis-stricken pig farmers in the region, according to industry consultant Peter Crichton.

Feed compounders are not receiving the ingredients they need to make pig feed and are worried they will not be able to meet demand on pig farms, he said

At least one farmer had not received medicine needed for his pigs because there was no transport available to deliver it, Mr Crichton added.

Fuel blockades could also threaten efforts to reduce swine fever in the region by preventing pigs being moved for slaughter, he said.