The pork industry has warned that more than 10 million pigs could be culled by September for the same reason. The techniques used to cull pigs include gassing, shooting, anaesthetic overdose, or “blunt force trauma”.

In “constrained circumstances”, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), techniques [pdf] might also include a combination of shutting down pig barn ventilator systems with the addition of CO2 so the animals suffocate.

The ‘depopulation’ comes despite food banks across the US reporting unprecedented demand and widespread hunger during the pandemic, with six-mile-long queues for aid forming at some newly set up distribution centres.