Dutch pig farmers in dire straits
National newspaper reports that the number of pigs in the Netherlands is dropping for the first time in years.
Rising feed prices have meant farmers are unable to make the substantial investments needed to meet stricter European environmental and animal welfare regulations.
Pig farmers who breed and sell piglets are facing particularly difficult times: their piglets fetch only half of what they cost in terms of feed and other expenses.
Farmers have been unable to pass on their rising costs to slaughterhouses because there are still too many pigs on the market.
Each year, about five percent of pig farms close down, but the sector organisation says the number for this year could be as high as ten percent. Since 1990, the number of pig farmers has steadily decreased from about 28,000 to about 7,000 today.
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