Farmers face shooting dead hundreds of thousands of pigs

Farmers face shooting dead hundreds of thousands of pigs because staff shortages at abattoirs have left too many packed in sheds on farms.

The National Farmers' Union warned as many as 150,000 animals are under threat of being culled in the next ten days.

It said a shortage of butchers means farmers are having to 'throw pigs in a skip' because they cannot be slaughtered and carved.

It comes as one farmer said he had already been forced to slaughter hundreds of piglets due to labour shortages at his local abattoir.

The Yorkshire stockman, who has not been named, took the drastic measure because slaughterhouses were not killing them fast enough.

It comes as the National Pig Association warned the UK is heading into an 'acute welfare disaster very quickly' with the country facing a 'mass cull of animals'.

Chairman Rob Mutimer said the country is just weeks away from farmers having to shoot pigs - which is legal providing it is humane and for the animals' welfare - when they run out of space.

Andrew Freemantle, a pig farmer in Exeter, Devon, said the backlog threatened farms because animals grow too big for slaughter, which hits how much they are worth.