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U.K. pork farmers feel the pressure from Russia's sanctions

At the beginning of August, Russia imposed sanctions as retaliation to the extensive Western sanctions handed down in response to Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |   Aug. 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM
LONDON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- U.K. pork farmers are facing lower prices for their product due to the surplus of livestock resulting from the Russian sanctions against European food and drink.

Midland Pig Producers breeds and sells 1,200 pigs per week but that number is now too high because one of its biggest pork customers, Russia, just stopped importing their product. The sanctions enacted by Russia at the beginning of August has led to pork producers in Canada and Europe trying to sell 150,000 tons of spare meat to other markets.

"We can't quickly switch off the supply to easily accommodate this capacity that's coming in and, therefore, there will be an effect on price as there is a surplus, people will buy it but they'll pay less for it," James Leavesley, chief executive of Midland Pig Producers, told the BBC. "So if you have something like a 5 percent extra supply into a market, this could have a devastating effect upon the whole of the price paid across the whole of the European herd."

The pork industry has taken a few blows recently. Russia banned the import of Midland pork a year and a half ago for health reasons, causing a surplus and subsequent drop in price. The prices in pork have dropped a quarter since Christmas and will now drop even further.

Pig farmers will stop producing if prices go too low, causing pork prices to eventually skyrocket. Mick Sloyan, director of the British Pig Executive, said to stabilize the meat market, there needs to be stable international trade relations.

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