Bloomberg reports a labor strike at a Quebec pork-processing plant may have resulted in more than 130,000 culled pigs in eastern Canada.
A dangerous backlog of pigs ready for slaughter has built up after Olymel's processing facility in Vallee-Jonction, Quebec, experienced a labor strike and the resulting closure of the plant since April 28.
The company slaughters on average 36,000 hogs each week. But since the plant closed, backlogs are increasing, and pigs are being diverted to other U.S. and western Canada processors. About 15,000 pigs each week are being left behind, according to David Duval, the president of the Eleveurs de porcs du Quebec, which represents the province's farmers.
"Animals struggle through heat waves like this. If on top of that they're crammed, it's becoming extremely difficult," Duval said. "I heard several producers who told me 'I don't know where to put them next week."
Duval calls the situation "unprecedented" and says the pork industry in Quebec produces four times more than what's locally consumed.
"Olymel is taking special measures to limit this backlog, to control the backlog as much as we can," Richard Vigneault, a spokesman for Olymel, said.
Bloomberg estimates more than 130,000 pigs have been culled by local farmers.
Each pig can provide around 600 meals, and the waste is considered astronomical.
With backlogs mounting due to limited processing capacity, farmers are forced to euthanize pigs to prevent overcrowding.
Canada is the world's third-largest pork exporter - there has yet to be any information on supply chain disruptions due to the downed plant.