Butchers and slaughterhouse workers abroad will be granted seasonal worker visas to deal with the backlog of pigs that need to be slaughtered, the government said.
Agriculture Secretary George Eustice said around 800 overseas pig butchers are needed to prevent a mass pig slaughter and he expects them to arrive in November.
He added that slaughterhouses will be offered private storage aid so that they can temporarily store pork before going to market to clear the backlog.
The government is also changing the rules regarding cabotage – the loading and unloading of goods in a country – for EU truck drivers in the UK so that they can make as many trips as they want on a two week period.
However, Mr Eustice said the requirement for butchers to be fluent in English will not be dropped, as expected.
The Agriculture Secretary said the loss of staff in the pig industry had “nothing to do with Brexit” and was due to the fact that many EU citizens left the UK during the pandemic.
Labor shortages, seen in several sectors, including heavy truck drivers, have been an aggravating factor but not the only problem, he said.
He blamed numerous market disruptions during the pandemic, problems accessing the Chinese market – the world’s largest consumer of pork – and said there had been a 7% overproduction of pork in the UK .