Pig farmers are facing a “human disaster” due to a shortage of abattoir workers, the National Farmer’s Union has said.
Farmers are already having to destroy healthy pigs due to a backlog on farms, the union said.
Time is running out for the UK pig sector, the National Pig Association (NPA) warned.
But a government minister said businesses should pay higher wages and invest in skill.
The industry blames the shortage of people to slaughter pigs in abattoirs on factors including Covid and Brexit.
The chronic labour shortage has led to an estimated backlog of 85,000 pigs on farms, with an extra 15,000 being added per week, according to NPA figures.
The industry association warned that “empty retail shelves and product shortages are becoming increasingly commonplace and Christmas specialities, such as pigs in blankets are already under threat”.
“The knock-on effect of the staff shortages is having a devastating effect on the country’s pig farmers,” the NPA said.