China is currently the world’s largest producer of pigs, rearing an astounding 726 million a year– more than half the world’s pig population and five times more than that produced in the USA. Over 60 per cent of the world’s pork is consumed in China and this level seems set to increase with the inevitable population growth. In order to meet this demand, there has been a major shift away from traditional small-scale pig farms to large-scale intensive production1. Such scaling-up of production has been achieved by greater vertical integration in the supply chain and geographic concentration of production1, along with the use of highly productive breeds, intensive systems (such as sow stalls, farrowing crates, high stocking densities, and barren pens), and intensive practices (such as tail docking, and teeth-clipping).
It is precisely these practices that Compassion and ICCAW are educating against through the Good Pig Production Award, which recognizes Chinese producers for implementing higher welfare standards within their pig production systems.
Madame Xi, executive president of ICCAW, gave her comments on the Good Pig Production Award: “Before launching the Good Pig Production Award, not many people in China were aware of the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. Today industry experts, farm owners and even some consumers know more about pig welfare requirements such as no sow stalls, no teeth-clipping, no tail-docking, and the provision of appropriate bedding materials, all because of the Award. It is a remarkable change and demonstrates significant progress in China, the world’s largest producer of pigs. Moreover, it has resulted in a very positive effect on the global environment and sustainable agricultural development.”
Many large Chinese pig producers are already recognizing the benefits of higher welfare production with two 2014 winners demonstrating the successful implementation of previous commitments:
- Sanmenxia Chuying Agri-husbandry Co.
- Beijing Taixinfumin Pig Production Co. Ltd
Compassion has worked with ICCAW and local experts in China to develop welfare codes (Farm Animal Welfare Requirements) for pigs, beef cattle and sheep, with the aim of encouraging best practice and improved farm animal welfare. These have filled the gap for animal welfare standards in China and additional welfare codes for broilers and laying hens are currently being developed.
Locally, ICCAW is working hard to set up supply chain connections between producers and retailers of higher welfare pig meat. Recent success has been the signing up of online retailer SFbest.
Dr. Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming, summarizes the work and aims of the two partners: “Since 2013, our work in China has been intricately linked to our effective partnership with ICCAW and is largely centered on the Good Pig Production Award, which aims to stop the use of sow stalls and to promote the development of higher welfare systems and practices for both sows and meat pigs. To date, nearly 1 million pigs are set to benefit each year through our award winners’ policies.
“While ICCAW works in China to promote the award to producers, administers award applications and oversees expert panel visits to farms for verification, we at Compassion offer expert technical advice and provide opportunities for the Chinese pig producers to visit farms in the UK and attend expert seminars to gain best practice knowledge. Through study tours they accumulate the latest science-based and practical knowledge on pig farming and higher animal welfare production to help cement their own beliefs and encourage them to spread the word in China. It’s a huge job but the scale on which some of these farmers work means that if just one of them adopts and promotes higher welfare pig production it has an enormous impact.”
Good Pig Production Award winners 2015
5 Star Winners
- Heilongjiang Dongnong Sanhua Pig Animal Husbandry & Food Co. Ltd
- Laiwu Breeder Pig Farm Co. Ltd
- Hainan Dingan Nabowan Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
- Yanbian Northeast Local Free-range Pig Development Co. Ltd
- Haerbin Xincheng Yuquanshan Breeding Co. Ltd
- Jiangxi Shuosheng Ecological Agriculture Science & Technology Co. Ltd
- Tongjiang Bashan Ecological Animal Husbandry Science and Technology Co. Ltd
- Sanmenxia Chuying Agro-Pastoral Co. Ltd
- Beijing Taixinfumin Pig Production Co. Ltd
- Handan Furun Ecological Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
- Hainan Shengtai Agri-Husbandry Co. Ltd
- Changzhou Fenghua Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
- Tianjing Hengtai Livestock Farming Co. Ltd
- Zhong Dao Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
1] FCRN ‘Appetite for change – Social, economic and environmental transformations in China’s food system’ Tara Garnett, Andreas Wilkes - February 2014 http://www.fcrn.org.uk/sites/default/files/fcrn_china_mapping_study_final_pdf_2014.pdf