'We are going to keep fighting" - BBC documentary charts Morgan family pig crisis struggles
17th Feb 2022 / By Alistair Driver
An excellent BBC documentary, broadcast last night, has shed light onto the harsh realities, and feelings of helplessness, of living through the pig industry crisis.
The 'We Are England' documentary followed the unfolding situation on the Morgan family's 1,700-sow pig farm in Yorkshire, from the early days of 25% of their contracted pigs being rejected by their processor to the present day.
It showed the practical difficulties, including the potential animal welfare implications, of running out space and having to find alternative accommodation.
Above all, it highlighted the emotional strain on the entire family of the difficulties and uncertainty of a situation that producers feel is entirely out of their control.
"It's really hard right now," Vicky told the interviewer. "We are just doing our best and there's no end there's, no light at the end of the tunnel. So everyday you get up and think, well maybe something will happen today, maybe something will change. You just don't know which direction we should be going in. It is stressful."
Kate added: "It's just so out of our control. If it was something that we'd done, if we'd made a bad decision for the business then, yeah, it would be difficult, but you know it would be our fault. This is not our fault. This is not the farmers' fault."
Featuring a visit from vet Duncan Berkshire, it also highlighted the sort of discussions about the horrendous possibility of having to cull healthy pigs on farm that have been taking place up and down the country over the past six months or so.
Duncan helped the sisters apply for a license to kill pigs on farm, which he said he hoped would never be used. "If we need to then at least we've got the right things in place," he said.
"You can see they are upset, and that makes me feel pretty down as well, and that is probably going to be one of the longer-term problems from this whole crisis situation - the fact we've got a big impact on the mental health of producers, themselves, their stock people, so their employees. That's going to be a big impact, too, and obviously vets, also involved in the whole process."
The documentary also showed how the family, and Kate and Vicky in particular, have campaigned on behalf of the industry, through media appearances and their prominent part in the Save GB Bacon and Bite Into British campaigms, including footage from the recent event at a Tesco store in Leeds.
So far, they have not had to cull any pigs on farm, due to their combined efforts.
Vicky said: “We're really lucky that it's a family. I think if we've been on our own, and there are plenty farmers who are fighting this fight on their own, it would be a whole different story.”
Kate added: “There's definitely been times when I thought, let's just stop, let's just pack in, but then it's in our blood.
“You know it's easy to quit isn't it, and we're not quitters. We're going to keep fighting and we will keep fighting until this crisis is over.”
You can view the documentary HERE