Coronavirus: Farmers selling pigs on Craigslist after pork production plants close

US farmers are selling pigs on Craigslist, after production plant closures have forced them to euthanise hundreds of thousands of hogs every day.

Last week, officials estimated that 700,000 pigs were being euthanised every day in the US, as pork production plants temporarily closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To help ease the struggle, president Donald Trump, used the Defence Production act, to order production plants to stay open, by labelling them an essential service.

Despite the order, pork production plants are struggling to get production up to full capacity, and hog farmer Chad Lubben told CNN that he is now selling pigs on Craigslist, so he does not have to euthanise his whole supply.

On Tuesday, Mr Lubben posted on the site and advertised the pigs at $80 (£65) each.

He told the outlet that he needs to get rid of as many hogs as he can by 23 May, because he will be receiving a new shipment of 2,400 pigs on that day.

“I’m losing $70 a pig right now, but I figure if I can make $80, at least it’s better than zero when it comes to euthanisation,” Mr Lubben said.

Nebraska farmer, Brian Sudbeck, told the outlet that he has also been forced to sell pigs and cattle online, after he was advised that his best option was to give excess animals to petting zoos.

“I currently reached out with an ad online to try to find a place for some market-ready hogs to go due to the situation,” he said.

“I found myself running out of options and made a half dozen phone calls to the USDA FSIS Department regarding laws on butchering animals just to be absolutely insulted and told to ‘call around to see if any petting zoos are looking for animals?’”

Mr Lubben told CNN that it costs money to dispose of pigs properly and legally, and said that without financial support, farmers will suffer.

“No money, no farmers, no food,” he said.

Jim Monroe, the spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, told the outlet that the adverts are proof of a farming crisis.

“It’s definitely an indication of the animal welfare crisis faced by our producers,” he said. “It’s indicative of the desperation they feel.”

Last month, Howard Roth, the president of the National Pork Producers Council, said that farmers will need financial support to survive the crisis.

“We are going to need indemnity money for these farmers,” he said. “This situation is unprecedented.”

In a statement, he said that hog farmers are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“Hogs are backing up on farms with nowhere to go, leaving farmers with tragic choices to make,” he said.

“Dairy producers can dump milk. Fruit and vegetable growers can dump produce. But, hog farmers have nowhere to move their hogs.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of 1.2 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 73,566.

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