Reduced pig processing at Karro, the UK and Ireland’s largest pig factory in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, means “a pig welfare crisis is very close if it isn’t already here”, IFA pig chair Roy Gallie has warned.

Pig farmers in NI have raised the issue with the Ulster Farmers’ Union, which has a meeting with Executive Minister Edwin Poots this Thursday.

Around 7,000 pigs are also sourced south of the border and this has halved over the past three weeks.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Karro said it was running with 700 staff vacancies, a 20% staff shortage caused by Brexit and competition for labour as the economy reopens.