Major Chinese pork producer commits to higher welfare for pigs

Chinese pork producer, Guangdong Dexing Food Company Ltd (Dexing) is the latest company to sign a public commitment to ensure better welfare of their pigs
calendar icon 18 November 2018
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The company, this week, committed to end the use of cages (sow stalls) for pregnant pigs by 2020 and to keep all pigs in groups with material provided to allow for expression of natural behaviour.

The move will result in improved welfare for approximately 20,000 mother pigs and 400,000 pigs raised for meat annually, says World Animal Protection.

The charity has been working with Dexing since 2015 to trial and scale up improved pig welfare practice.

This announcement follows a number of positive developments for pigs across the world as part of the charity’s Raise Pigs Right campaign:

  • Fellow Chinese producer, Qinglian announced in 2017 they will end the use of cages for pregnant pigs by 2025.
  • One of the world’s biggest pork producers, CP Foods, has committed to get mother pigs out of cages and living in groups by 2025 in Thailand, and globally by 2028. CP Group operations in China are currently not included in this commitment.
  • CP Foods released a statement earlier this month with a quote from World Animal Protection on the need for their global animal welfare policy to incorporate provision of enrichment and ending painful procedures, and to extend to China.
  • Tops Market in Thailand announced in August 2018 they will end the use of cages for pregnant pigs by 2027.
  • Betagro Group, Thailand’s largest pork producer, announced in September 2017 a commitment to end cages for pregnant and lactating pigs by 2027.
  • In the US, in August 2018, the largest national supermarket chain, Kroger, committed to end the use of cages for pregnant pigs in its fresh pork supply by 2025.

Jacqui Mills, Global head of farming for World Animal Protection, said:

“We are delighted that the food industry is showing true leadership and responding to our asks to ensure that pigs are raised right around the world.

“Good animal welfare practices also reduce stress, injury and disease, decreasing the overuse of antibiotics - a major contributor to superbugs in humans.

“We are urging producers and supermarkets to join the expanding list of companies phasing out cages for pigs, bringing in enrichment and ending mutilations of piglets. We want to see companies take their first steps towards higher welfare pig farming.”

Over 250,000 people worldwide have joined the organisation’s growing movement to raise pigs right. Polling conducted by World Animal Protection in 2018 showed:

  • Eight out of ten people (80 percent) in the US were concerned after seeing the realities of commercial farming.
  • Seven out of ten people (72 percent) internationally believe that the way factory farmed pigs are kept is ‘upsetting’, ‘wrong’ or ‘shocking’.
  • In the US, 89 percent of shoppers think that supermarkets have a responsibility to source pork from farms with higher welfare standards – and that responsibility is for pigs raised overseas as well as in the US.
  • 86 percent of people in China are willing to change where they shop if a supermarket committed to improving the lives of pigs.
  • Eight out of ten (80 percent) in Brazil, Thailand and Australia are concerned about the human health impact of routine use of antibiotics in farm animals.

World Animal Protection’s global campaign, Raise Pigs Right, is calling on the world’s supermarkets to end close confinement, barren environments and mutilations of pigs in their supply chain by introducing higher-welfare sourcing policies for pork.

As reported by World Animal Protection

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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