Culling has begun on a handful of pig farms with piglets being euthanised as the pork crisis continues.

Due to a lack of butchers in pork processing plants, there are an estimated 120,000 pigs backed up on UK pig farms that should have gone to slaughter.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: "We know of a handful of farmers who have had to cull some pigs - around 600 we are aware of in total.

"There has been no mass culling yet – although I do believe this is the next stage in the process.

"As you can imagine this is hugely difficult for the farmers involved and to date none are willing to speak to the press about it."

Some farmers are choosing to to use slaughtermen, as they just can’t bear to do it themselves and don't want ask their staff to do it.

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NPA chairman Rob Mutimer added: “There are now producers actively euthanising piglets - they have run out of room.

"They are tending to euthanise the younger ones and get the older ones away as they can.”

The fear is, with some farmers getting pigs rolled at a rate of 25-30 per cent per week and contingency plans exhausted, the pressure will build, requiring a large-scale welfare cull.

The situation, which he said was not getting any better, is much worse in some supply chains than others and on some farms than others.

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Mr Mutimer says things need to improve rapidly before the next pinch point.

“Pigs are normally being brought forward now ahead of Christmas.

"We must see some improvement in all supply chains soon, otherwise we are going to head into the reduced kill at Christmas and people won’t be able to cope as they have already filled their contingency plans,” he added.