Piggies in the middle of animal welfare efforts

By Yan Wanli | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-09 07:01
A modern cattle farm in Luanxian county, Hebei province, Sept 22, 2017. Xinhua 

At Qinglian Food, feeding and cleaning duties are performed by an automatic system. In addition, each pig is fitted with an electronic chip in one ear, which helps workers to monitor their health and control the supply of food and water. Temperature and humidity levels are also controlled automatically to meet the needs of different groups of pigs.

Moreover, in the group feeding area, timid or vulnerable pigs are held in a separate small area to prevent them being attacked by more aggressive animals.

"Under this model, you see far fewer cuts and bruises on the pigs' skins, so their meat tastes better as a result of the lower levels of stress they face," said Jin Aiming, deputy head of Qinglian Food.

Higher profits

Rearing pigs in line with higher standards of welfare initially raises production costs as a result of the investment in new facilities and training for staff members.

However, in the long run it brings bigger profits through a combination of higher prices and lower labor costs.

According to Jin, Qinglian Food operates more than 100 chain stores in Beijing Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, which sell pork produced in its modern facilities at double the price of meat from pigs raised by traditional methods.

"An increasing number of pig farms in China are exploring Western production methods and learning about the concept of farm animal welfare. It will definitely become a trend in the future," Jin said.

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