I am all for Precision Farming, Smart Technology and data driven solutions…but this article in Pig Progress (!) caught my eye this morning for all the wrong reasons.
There are now 62 of these high rise piggeries in production or under construction in China. The design is said to be suitable for all geographic locations and climate conditions. The company is now on Version 5, which means they are learning and improving all the time. This also means there are 4 previous versions, which are not quite so good and could be compromising the welfare of thousands of pigs. I wonder if they can retrofit the previous versions to bring them up to the spec of V5?
Evacuation plans for humans from high rise buildings are challenging enough; how do you create an effective plan for pigs?
With all the focus on regenerative agriculture and sustainable solutions, surely this cannot be the pig industry’s future?
The European Union has just agreed to table legislation to ban cages for most farmed animals, perhaps as early as 2027. To the European consumer this is seen as progress.
What would the European consumer think of their pork being sourced from here?
“Real time” Mortality Reporting
This is the second very concerning sentence I read in this article: “We have real-time mortality reporting. We‘ve narrowed the gap from 7 to 10 days down to real time.” Intensive farms should never be so big, or labour resource so low, that mortality reporting is anything other than “real time”. There may be a few exceptions to this, particularly within aquaculture, but animals under our care deserve individual attention, at least daily. Every loss should matter and never become just a production statistic. Every loss should be seen as a potential failure; a failure to have identified an underlying health problem that required remedying. I would argue that scanners should be working to detect health conditions earlier than the best stockman can. This is where Precision Farming can augment our excellent husbandry skill sets and so drive forward health and welfare, which in turn will improve performance.
Please make sure you know where your animal products come from and what production systems is used to raise them. It matters!
Precision Farming, Smart Technology and data driven solutions are tools which should be embraced, to improve great production systems and competent stockmen, not to develop or perpetuate poor production systems and never to replace the compassionate farmer.
If your business is offering products of animal origin to consumers as food, fashion, textiles, health supplements, or more and want to understand more about where your products come from and what farming systems are available, please get in contact with Mandy@fawcltd.com to discuss your animal welfare policy.