BORIS Johnson says he will “see what happens” after being warned about a cataclysmic pig cull due to Brexit-related labour shortages.

Around 120,000 pigs face being slaughtered and incinerated if there is no solution to a critical shortage of abattoir workers and butchers in the next 10 days, industry leaders have warned.

If it goes ahead it will be the biggest cull of healthy animals in the history of British agriculture.

Speaking BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, the Prime Minister said: “I hate to break it to you Andrew but our food processing industry does involve … killing a lot of animals.

"That is the reality. Your viewers need to understand that. That’s just what happens.”

It was pointed out to the Tory leader that the animals are usually killed for meat production, instead of being culled for incineration.

Johnson continued: “What you’re talking again about is an issue to do with a shortage of another particular type of workforce.

“Actually, what I think needs to happen is again there is a question about the types of jobs that are being done, the pay that is being offered, the levels of automation, the levels of investment.”

The PM accused Marr of “trying to obfuscate” the point before the host explained food processing to the Prime Minister.

Johnson added: “The great hecatomb of pigs that you describe has not yet taken place, let’s see what happens.”

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Outlining again the desire to boost wages and conditions, Johnson also said: “There will be a period of adjustment but that is what I think we need to see.”

During the at time temperamental exchanges on BBC One, the Prime Minister acknowledged Chancellor Rishi Sunak is “right” about the prospect of food, fuel and labour shortages lasting until Christmas before recognising he has known about the HGV driver crisis “long before” June.

“When people voted for change in 2016 and when people voted for change again in 2019, they voted for the end of a broken model of the UK economy that relied on low wages and low skills and chronic low productivity – and we’re moving away from that,” Johnson said.

Asked when he was first warned about the HGV driver crisis, the Tory chief said there have been shortages “for a very long time and it’s a chronic problem”.

Told the Road Haulage Association warned him in June, the Prime Minister replied: “We’ve known about shortages in road haulage long before then.

“They’ve been a chronic feature of the way in which the road haulage industry has worked. What needs to happen now is people need to be decently paid and you need to have investment in their conditions.”

On fuel shortages, Johnson added: “It has been abating and what you’re hearing now from the Petrol Retailers’ Association is that supplies are getting on to the forecourts.”

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said that while the industry was working hard to avoid a cull, farmers were facing “extremely difficult circumstances”.

“It is heart-breaking. It is an incredibly distressing situation to find yourself in,” he told the PA news agency.

“You are doing your best to look after the animals even though they are growing, you are running out of pens, you are running out of space and you have a massive cash flow problem. It is a nightmare scenario.”

He said the problems were down to the refusal of Home Office to allow in skilled workers from abroad to address the labour shortages.

He dismissed suggestions by ministers that the real issues were a lack of investment and an unwillingness to pay high enough wages to attract British workers.

“The idea that we have just been dependent on cheap labour, we haven’t been investing in infrastructure, is utter nonsense,” Allen said.

“It is lot more complicated than that. Even though we have increased wages quite dramatically, we are still not getting people wanting to do that job.”