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Pig cull fears over gas crisis as sausages and bacon could be hit

Pig farmers are facing a crisis over a threat of carbon dioxide shortages.

It could mean a lack of sausages and bacon. Beer, fizzy drinks and frozen foods could also be hit.

Farmers are being warned they may have to start a “humane” mass cull due to a potentially disastrous shortage of CO2 used in slaughter houses to stun and kill the animals.

Nick Allen, of the British Meat Processors Association, said: “This could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It is potentially a massive challenge for the food industry when we are already facing huge issues.”

Meat industry workers say carbon dioxide stocks could run out within two weeks, meaning it can’t be used to stun pigs and chickens before they are killed.

Zoe Davies, of the National Pig Association, said pork farms were already “at bursting point” due to a slaughter backlog sparked by labour shortages in abattoirs.

She warned: “Government has got to intervene. I was talking to a farmer who was almost in tears at the thought of having to kill animals.”

Carbon dioxide is essential for producing and transporting household staples including bread and meat, as well as for putting the fizz in lager and drinks.

There are mounting fears shortages would cause pubs to run dry of draught beer.

The gas is also used to make water safe to drink, clean hospital equipment and in some invasive surgery.

Soaring global demand, maintenance issues and lower solar and wind energy output are being blamed for a rise in the cost of wholesale gas.

The “perfect storm” of problems has forced much of the commercial production of CO2 in Britain to be halted.

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to chief executives of major energy firms yesterday and tweeted: “I was reassured security of supply was not a cause for immediate ­concern in the industry.”

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