The Daily Telegraph

British pigs in blankets off the menu this Christmas

- By Hannah Boland

SHOPPERS looking for British pigs in blankets and locally reared gammon this Christmas may be forced to buy EU meat instead, the industry has warned.

Supermarke­ts will be stocking less British meat this Christmas, industry chiefs warned, as higher feed prices prompt farmers to rear fewer animals.

Official estimates suggest a significan­t drop-off in Britain’s breeding pig herd, down by almost 20pc on last year by June. The numbers are expected to have fallen further as farmers face spiralling costs in energy and animal feed.

Lizzie Wilson, the chief executive of the National Pig Associatio­n, warned of “a hole in supply coming” for British cuts on supermarke­t shelves.

“Until now, retailers have been good at buying British pork,” she said. “However, they can’t ignore that EU pig meat is significan­tly cheaper than British.”

The UK is already importing more pig meat from Spain and Belgium, Ms Wilson warned. A squeeze on carbon dioxide – used for stunning animals before slaughter – has added more pressure.

The Government said: “Since last autumn, the CO2 market’s resilience has improved, with additional imports, further domestic production and better stockpiles.”

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