British pork producers are facing grave difficulty, said Barney Kay, general manager of the U.K. National Pig Association. In addition to high feed costs and low pig prices, the UK producers face the consequences of foot-and-mouth disease causing transportation to be halted for an extended period.

An industry census conducted last week shows producers representing over a quarter of the U.K.  pig herd cannot continue production after December 2007 - unless they receive a significant increase in price. Slaughterhouses and cold stores are packed with meat supplies, and producers have nowhere to go with their animals.

Many British producers are seeking government compensation for the losses from FMD. National Farmer’s Union Scotland president Jim McLaren said, “we are facing a catastrophe which has resulted from negligence at a government-licensed facility. The U.K. government has a moral responsibility to address the consequences of this crisis. We hope over the next few days to work closely with the Scottish Government to put a case to London for immediate aid to address the financial and welfare disaster which has emerged on farms across the country.

“The animal welfare problem is growing by the day. Tragically, we have now reached the point where older breeding pigs also have to be disposed of because there is no room for them on-farm and no market for them. Dairy bull calves have also had their only market outlet closed.

“We stressed forcefully this morning that the current 20-day shutdown for any farms that bring new animals on is unworkable. We need the Scottish Government to reintroduce separation facilities to free up business at the busiest time of year. We have at least won an exemption from the domestic standstill for any breeding males coming on to farm, but this won’t address the big problem.