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Any sympathy for pig farmers?

(173 Posts)
vegansrock Fri 08-Oct-21 07:34:49

This was briefly discussed on one of the disappearing Brexit threads but I feel it deserves a thread of its own. Our Dear Leader obviously doesn’t as he says the 140,000 pigs are going to be killed anyway so the fact they are being shot and burned or buried on the farm rather than entering the food chain is just collateral damage in the wonderful journey to the high wage economy we are going to miraculously become.

Alegrias1 Fri 08-Oct-21 09:36:19

I have an old friend I haven't seen for 40 years who is a pig farmer. He recently posted on Facebook about the dire straits they are in. He is obviously trying to manage the situation. Having been in business for 40 years he does have an inkling about managing stock.

How would we suggest he keeps his farm going in the interim? He was hardly living the life of Riley before.

I'm sorry to keep repeating this, I've said it before, but the "Let them eat cake" response we so often see on here is just so insulting.

Early Fri 08-Oct-21 09:38:11

A variety of methods are used Kali2.

These for pigs:


There are various methods available to stun larger animals, these include:

Penetrating captive bolt - used on cattle, sheep and some pigs. A gun fires a metal bolt into the brain of the animal causing the animal to lose consciousness immediately.

Electrical - used on sheep, calves and pigs. An electrical current is passed through the animal's brain via a large pair of tongs, causing temporary loss of consciousness. Some systems also pass the current through the heart, so the animal is not just stunned but also killed.

Gas stunning/killing - of pigs, which involves the use of gas mixtures. Pigs are exposed to high concentrations of gas (currently carbon dioxide).


After stunning, the animal is shackled by a hind leg and hoisted above the ground and the slaughter person sticks the animal.

vegansrock Fri 08-Oct-21 09:38:28

No animals are killed one by one. Some say gas chambers are kinder as they don’t know what is about to happen. On the farm it’s mass prodding and shooting - they can see and hear it all.

Kali2 Fri 08-Oct-21 09:54:14

Early, thanks. Where I live currently, all pigs are stunned, in a queue and out of sight of each other. So I had never heard of the gassing- and I have to say, in huge halls in sight of each other, it truly sounds barbaric. How long does the process last?

Gas chambers.

And for the most intelligent and sensitive of our farm animals. Honestly, call me naïve, but I am truly shocked and upset at this.

25Avalon Fri 08-Oct-21 09:54:45

Using CO2 gas to stun pigs before slaughter has been going on for some time. They prefer to gas groups as pigs won’t go in single file. If you read what they do to chickens - hung upside down and heads dipped in water with an electric current you wouldn’t eat chicken either. I read the RSPCA report on this and more humane methods need to be found. The stun gun is the best option. A bullet in the head might be kinder.

vegansrock Fri 08-Oct-21 09:56:54
No apologies for this video it shows that pigs are intelligent - can do jigsaws like a toddler

Whitewavemark2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:01:25


No animals are killed one by one. Some say gas chambers are kinder as they don’t know what is about to happen. On the farm it’s mass prodding and shooting - they can see and hear it all.

The meat I buy from the farmer is killed one by one. First thing very early in the morning before any other non organic animals.

Kali2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:07:56

This is how it should be- and I hope people will become more aware of this, thanks to this dreadful, cruel, horrible mess- and ask questions, and source more humanly killed pork. I'd rather eat a lot less of good quality and more humanly raised... and killed.

Whitewavemark2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:12:05

I asked the question and I got a detailed answer.

Honestly if I am going to eat meat, which I do, I owe it to every animal that is killed on my behave, that it has the best life possible and the most humane death as possible.

How can I in all conscience do otherwise?

JaneJudge Fri 08-Oct-21 10:14:48

I think it s most probably easier to buy ethically farmed and butchered meat if you live in a rural county. It is more expensive (if you don't have a neighbour who rears as someone does above) but even my lardy dah butcher has a freezer which must be end of day stock, where you can buy 3 lots of whatever is in there for £10

25Avalon Fri 08-Oct-21 10:16:23

WWM2 I entirely agree. That’s is why I always buy organic or free range. Years ago people mocked me when I paid extra at The Real Meat Company because I cared how the animals were looked after.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:24:31

Not everyone can afford to buy free range products so there will always be a market for cheaper produced meat and dairy products.

Early Fri 08-Oct-21 10:24:46

I would never suggest that we stop farming animals altogether. It’s very easy to eat a plant-based diet (and I have done for over 50 years) but so many of the modern products we rely on have animal products embedded in them or used in the production of them. Plastics, cooling agents for electrical appliances, car tyres, some sugars - the list is very long - and of course wool and leather which are far more environmentally friendly than cotton, the production of which causes enormous environmental damage. It’s a complex system.

What we need is a general reduction in meat consumption so that animals do not have to be reared and slaughtered intensively, a slowing down of the whole system, incentivising farmers where necessary so that they can produce meat to the highest ethical standards. We have land enough to grow more seasonal vegetables and grains to plug the gap but need seasonal workers to harvest and process those too.

When you have a low wage economy it becomes a vicious cycle of needing to rely on cheap food needing quick, cheap production.

And when you have in George “Useless” Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whose family are pig farmers, you kind of hope he’d be able to anticipate the problems a shortage of overseas labour would cause. But then he was a member of UKIP and firmly pro-Brexit. I accept that the CO2 shortage was also a factor in this situation.

Coming from a farming background, his family still run a fruit farm, restaurant and farm shop in Cornwall where they also have a herd of South Devon cattle and the country’s oldest herd of the rare breed of pig, the British Lop. The family have shown a keen interest in educating children about farming and have opened their farm to 3000 schoolchildren a year. I wonder how they will explain this pig slaughter travesty to young people? I hope at last one child poses the question.

rosie1959 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:31:17

Anyone else going off the thought of eating meat I have not been keen now for quite a while vegetarian looks the way forward for me

Teacheranne Fri 08-Oct-21 10:32:34


We are the first country anywhere in the world to kill live animals that were bred for and fit for human consumption and throw them away like rubbish.

I can’t begin to understand the immorality of such an act.

Johnson has been warned for months and months. In fact the Tories had 5 years to plan for these sort of issues and we are now seeing the result.

Project Fear predicted everything that is now taking place, but where it was wrong it appears was to forecast a Big Bang of issues, when in fact it has become more of a slow burn, that and covid which has muddied the waters and allowed a convenient peg for Johnson to hang all these issues on.

But every day more people are beginning to wake up to the truth, particularly people who voted for Brexit like the farmers, the well known CEOs of companies, and millions of others.

Brexit isn’t working.

I’m not questioning the dire situation for pig farmers but according to Reuters, pork producers in the US had to kill their pigs and throw away the carcasses in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Some also injected pregnant sows to abort the foetus and thousands of egg producing chickens were also culled as there was less demand for eggs as restaurants etc were closed.

Saying we are the first country to do this is inaccurate - although still an awful thing for farmers to have to do.

It is inhumane that animals are being culled and disposed off in such a way and also immoral when some people are having to rely on food banks. I hope that the situation is resolved soon.

I voted Remain and was sad when Brexit happened but I do wonder if things would have been so dire if the pandemic had not happened, I don’t think everything can be blamed directly on Brexit.

Whitewavemark2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:35:25

I was really quoting the President if the farmers Union, so I assumed she knew what she was talking about.

JaneJudge Fri 08-Oct-21 10:39:39

I thought we had much better animal welfare laws than that in the US?

Early Fri 08-Oct-21 10:43:41

rosie1959 I can recommend it and it is easy despite recent threads on here where people scratch their heads over how to feed vegans and vegetarians.

Linda Geddes in The Guardian today.

Britons cut meat-eating by 17%, but must double that to hit target

People have been advised to reduce consumption by 30% for health and environmental reasons

Kali2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:46:09


Not everyone can afford to buy free range products so there will always be a market for cheaper produced meat and dairy products.

Agreed, sadly. And yet- if people become more aware of what is happening in the meat rearing world, and it seems, pig farming in particular- then many will choose to eat a lot less, and better reared and killed, meat.

or as rosie59 says, will choose not to eat meat at all- rosie, yes it is becoming increasingly tempting, for sure.

Alegrias1 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:47:01

Great post at 10:24, Early

Whitewavemark2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:49:48

Is there a charity who could take the pigs and deliver them (frozen) to the poor or starving? I guess the logistics are far too difficult.

Whitewavemark2 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:51:09

I eat meat every third day. And I eat less than I used to when I do. I also use every last bit of it - zero goes to waste.

rosie1959 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:58:05

I can also definite health benefits of a vegetarian diet I did look at vegan but a step to far as yet but who knows
Most restuarants cater very well for a vegetarian diet vegan not so much. At home it's easy

Kali2 Fri 08-Oct-21 11:04:53

Probably discussing killing methods and alternatives, etc- should be for another thread.

But in a way, I am 'grateful' that this terrible mess and waste has made me more aware of the methods used- and made me think, long and hard. And I hope it will have the same effect on many others too.

MaizieD Fri 08-Oct-21 12:37:38


Is there a charity who could take the pigs and deliver them (frozen) to the poor or starving? I guess the logistics are far too difficult.

Shortage of butchers, too. I don't think many people would know what to do with a whole frozen pig.