Compassion in World Farming fears that global competition and investment are driving intensification and expansion of mega pig farms. Two recently reported news stories are indicative of a move towards more intensive pig farming:
It has been reported that Shuanghui International Holdings Inc. China's largest meat processor has secured a $4 billion loan from a consortium of eight banks, part of the financing it needs to acquire Smithfield Foods. Smithfield Foods is based in the USA and is the world's largest pork processor and producer.
This will give Shuanghui increased power and geographic reach. Armed with the knowledge of mass production techniques honed by Smithfield this move is sure to increase the number of pigs kept in factory farms globally.
Combined with a lack of legislation protecting farm animals in China, an intensification of pig farming in China could have devastating consequences on pig welfare, the environment and human health. It is also unclear how the acquisition will affect Smithfield's previous, and welcome, commitment to phase out the use of sow stalls by 2017.
More recent news states that a shareholder at Smithfield is urging other shareholders to vote against the proposed merger with Shuanghui in order to consider a potentially higher offer from another interested buyer. Smithfield's shareholders are due to vote on whether they are in favour of the transaction with Shuanghui on the 24th September.
We will provide an update as the situation progresses.
Georgia set to vote on the future of pig farms
In Georgia, USA, it has been reported that a debate is being held by the state Board of Natural Resources over whether rules preventing pig manure from pig farms washing into streams and rivers could be relaxed.
The proposed change would increase the number of pigs a farm can keep before they have to comply with tougher and more expensive environmental rules. Critics argue environmental harm could be caused if the proposed changes go ahead.
Furthermore, current legislation is stopping larger pig farms being attracted to Georgia due to the increased cost of complying with environmental rules. If the rules are relaxed, it could create an influx of more intensive pig farms to the state.
Compassion continues to speak out against the trend towards mega pig farms. We will be asking our supporters in America to add their support to blocking the proposed rule change.
Philip Lymbery CEO of Compassion says:"Life for pigs in factory farms is bleak; these highly intelligent animals have limited opportunities to express their natural behaviours. I urge the global community to stand up against mega pig farms for the good of our own health and the environment as well as for the welfare of these pigs."
"Let's ensure that we don't head towards a dark age of pig production, in which pigs throughout the world are increasingly kept confined in factory farms."
Take action for pigs by signing our petition calling for an end to the illegal and inhumane treatment of pigs in the EU.