PIG farmers demonstrated outside a meeting they said is vital for the future of an industry facing “devastation”.

Farmers from around the UK gathered in York on Thursday as representatives took part in a roundtable discussion with Defra about what they say is a crisis in British pig production.

Kate Morgan, who farms near Driffield, East Yorkshire, told said: “We need to let them know how important this meeting is to our industry.

“We’re protesting to show our support and let them know that this meeting is vital to the industry.

“It’s going to be devastating. They must do something.”

Gazette & Herald: Farmers warn that pig industry faces ‘devastation’. Picture: PA

Pig farmers raised concerns last year when a shortage of butchers left farms overflowing with piglets and raised the prospect of large-scale culling.

Around 20 to 30 farmers gathered outside Defra’s York office wearing T-shirts saying: “Save Our Bacon”. One demonstrator was dressed as a pig as banners were unfurled outside the office building.

Ms Morgan said: “It’s got lots worse, unfortunately.

“We’re in a really desperate position.

“There’s been about 35-40,000 pigs that we know that have been culled on farms and wasted.

“Forty independent farmers have decided to pack in and get out of pigs, which is devastating for the industry.”

Gazette & Herald: A demonstration outside the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) office in York, as farmers warn that pig industry faces 'devastation'. Picture date: Thursday February 10, 2022.

She said: “We have just run out of space. Financially, emotionally, mentally, its just the worst place we’ve ever been in as industry. It’s destroying people.”

And she added: “Last week, we actually arranged renderers and wagons to come and collect 700 pigs. We managed to get around that but we’ve just pushed the problem down for a few weeks.

“The Government need to step in. They need to, first of all, find out why the measures they were asked to put in place haven’t been taken up and they haven’t worked.

“And they then need to put some stiff rules in that the processors and the retailers need to work together to clear the backlog.

“Further down the line, we must investigate the supply chain.”

Gazette & Herald: Vicky Scott (left) and Kate Moore during the demonstration. Picture: PA

Ms Morgan said: “It just so wrong because it is not the farmers’ fault.

“We are merely trying to supply our contract numbers and we’re the ones that are dealing with the issue on the farm – mentally, financially – yet the processors and retailers are still making profits. It’s criminal.”

Gazette & Herald: A couple of the demonstrators. Picture: PA Media