Furious Farmers Protest at Conservative Conference Over Boris' 'Pigs Die' Comment in TV Interview
13:10 GMT 04.10.2021 (Updated: 13:01 GMT 01.03.2022)
The UK government is coming under heavy criticism for its post-Brexit immigration policy, which has made it almost impossible for EU nationals to work in semi-skilled jobs. It has been blamed for the petrol crisis and now it could affect farmers.
Pig farmers protested outside the ruling Conservative party in Manchester on Monday, 4 October, angered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s flippant response to their plight during a television interview on Sunday.
A shortage of butchers and abattoir workers - many of whom were EU nationals - could see up to 120,000 animals culled and then incinerated, rather than going into the food chain.
Boris Johnson’s government has agreed to give short-term visas to 5,000 lorry drivers and 5,000 poultry workers from the EU but he has laughed off the effects on the pig farming industry.
Asked about the issue by Andrew Marr in a BBC interview on Sunday, Johnson appeared to chuckle and said: “That’s what happens, pigs die.”
When Marr pointed out to him the difference - the meat from these pigs would be wasted because there were no workers trained to slaughter and butch them - he tried to play down the issue and restated that he did not want to resume mass immigration.
Johnson says the 2016 Brexit referendum was a vote for change but he admitted there would be a “period of adjustment.”
The prime minister said: "They voted for the end of a broken model of the UK economy that relied on low wages and low skill and chronic low productivity. What we can't do in all these sectors is simply go back to the tired, failed, old model and reach for the lever marked uncontrolled immigration, with people at low wages.”