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China: Dongguan to ban pig farming as of 2009

From 2009, all pig farming will be banned in Dongguan city, in Guangdong Province, China according to a recent statement by authorities.

In an effort to address environmental problems in the city and against a background of pork price rises, local officials have taken the tough decision to ban pig farms.

Pig waste
Attempting to explain the reasons for this move, Vice-Mayor Li, commented that "pigs generate over 1.3 million tonnes of sewage yearly. Treating this sewage costs authorities nearly 0.8 yuan (US$0.10) per tonne, which amounts yearly to 400 million yuan (US$54) or 547 yuan (US$73) per pig."

By December 15, local authority officials will have inspected pig farms that are permitted to continue running until the deadline and will make known their decisions.

Temporary operating permits have been allocated to 433 pig farms with 100,000 pigs in the city and its surrounding areas. Seven conditions have been laid down for the farms such as:

  • non-interference with residents;
  • not spoiling the appearance of the city;
  • not polluting water resources.

Demand for pork

As a countermeasure, to ensure pork demand is met, 51 farms have been selected outside the city to supply annually 4 million pigs. Deputy director of the agriculture department in Dongguan, Ye Jinrui, has also ensured that the government is planning to increase the number of pig producers outside the city by the end of this year in order to supply 8 million pigs.

Criticism against the move has been voiced by residents and academics claiming that pollution is not a reason to ban an industry.

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