Mass pig graves being dug as pork industry on brink of collapse

One News

17 May 2022

Pig farmers say the industry is in crisis, with some fearing they'll have to kill and dump animals as the pork market falls apart.

Mass imports at cheap prices, along with the pandemic fallout has seen demand for local products all but stop.

Pig farmer Hamish Mee and his wife Vicki are preparing for the worst.

An order for 219 pigs to leave their Methven farm on Sunday was cancelled at late notice, leaving the Mee's with nowhere to turn.

A mass grave has been dug in case no viable solution is found.

"The worst case scenario is that we will have to euthanise them on our farm and put them in the hole, and we are doing everything possible to avoid that," Hamish Mee said.

New Zealand Pork Board chief executive Brent Kleiss said Mee was not the only farmer struggling in the eye of a perfect storm.

"A weak market for pork, the ability to sell it into the service industry and ongoing Covid-related issues in the processes and wholesaling areas," Kleiss said were the issues causing the crisis.

There are around 4000 pigs on the Mee farm with some gaining more than a kilo a day, meaning soon they'll either halve in price or be too big for the market.

Mee is now hoping for a last-minute reprieve. He has just one week to sell stock before they end up in the grave.