Pig farmers in East Sussex have less than four weeks to find a new abattoir following news their local facility would stop accepting pigs.
Broad Oak Abattoir at Tottingworth Farm, Heathfield, has been targeted by vegan protesters in recent months, with farmers suggesting activism was the reason for the closure.
But a spokesperson for the abattoir rebuffed the claims, saying that while there had been pressure from activists, the decision was in fact down to falling pig numbers.
The facility will continue to process cattle and sheep.
A spokesperson said: “It is not just because of vegan protestors – who have been coming for a while – but pig numbers have gone down considerably over the years.
“We used to do more than 150 pigs a week but this last week it was only 58. It is not financially viable.”
The move will be official as of the end of March.
One farmer supplying the abattoir who did not want to be named said the decision would leave local farmers with ‘nowhere to go’ as it would be ‘very hard to start a new abattoir in the south east’.
He said: “I would say it is right that it is not just protestors. It is a complicated issue but farmers are very nervous about losing vital infrastructure.
“They have had a great deal of trouble for years from protestors and people will see this as a consequence of the intimidation.”