Compassion in World Farming held their second Good Pig Production Awards at an event in Westminster, London recently where Chinese pig producers were recognised for their advancement in pig welfare.
In association with the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW), 8 representatives of this year's 14 winners from China were in London to be presented with their awards and to hear from experts in pig welfare and food industry leaders, including Sainsbury's and BQP.
Pig production standards in China
China is currently the world's largest producer of pigs, rearing 726 million a year – more than half the world's pig population and five times more than that produced in the USA. Over 60% 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 production. Such scaling-up of production has been achieved by greater vertical integration in the supply chain and geographic concentration of production, 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).
"Before launching the Good Pig Production Award, not many people in China were aware of the Five Freedoms of animal welfare," said Ms Xi, executive president of ICCAW. "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."
Successful higher welfare production systems
The scale of production in China is vast – some individual companies have aspirations of producing or processing more pigs than the entire UK pig population (13 million). Compassion therefore believes that now is the time to build relationships with China's pig producers to ensure that higher welfare production is at the forefront of their minds and to inform them of the criteria behind operating a successful higher welfare production system.
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.
The Good Pig Production Award winners 2015 are:
5 Star Winners
1. Heilongjiang Dongnong Sanhua Pig Animal Husbandry & Food Co. Ltd
Heilongjiang Dongnong Sanhua Pig Animal Husbandry & Food Co. Ltd was awarded a 5 Star Good Pig Production Award for meeting all the criteria of the Award, benefitting over 5,620 pigs annually. The farm has developed a wonderful indoor free farrowing system and provides all pigs with straw and green material for rooting, nesting and bedding, and is a great example of providing higher welfare conditions for all its pigs.
2. Laiwu Breeder Pig Farm Co. Ltd
Laiwu Breeder Pig Farm Co. Ltd was awarded a 5 Star Good Pig Production Award, for meeting 4 of the 5 award criteria and committing to provide manipulable material to pigs at all stages in the production cycle. The farm breeds Laiwu and Lulai traditional black pigs on organic diets.
3. Hainan Dingan Nabowan Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
Hainan Dingan Nabowan Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd, are awarded with a 5 Star rating. The farm operates a part indoor and part free range enterprise using a local Dingan black female crossed with a Berkshire male. They are committed to providing bedding and manipulable material to their indoor pigs to achieve the 5 Star rating.
4. Yanbian Northeast Local Free-range Pig Development Co. Ltd
Yanbian Northeast Local Free-range Pig Development Co. Ltd - previously known as Wangqing County Dongbeimin Pig Farm Cooperative - has been awarded a 5 Star award. This cooperative enterprise keeps their sows and finishing pigs free range in the forest, bringing the sows indoors to farrow. They are committed to providing their indoor sows and weaners with bedding and manipulable material to meet the 5 Star criteria.
4 Star Winners:
1. Haerbin Xincheng Yuquanshan Breeding Co. Ltd
Haerbin Xincheng Yuquanshan Breeding Co. Ltd received a 4 Star award for using group housing (including during the observation period) and free farrowing for their sows, and for not tail docking their meat pigs. The have committed to end teeth-clipping. They use a local Northest Min female crossed with a male Duroc, and in total the farm has 6,400 sows and meat pigs. Many of the pens have solid floors and straw is available locally, so we hope the farm is able to provide bedding and manipulable material to their pigs in due course.
2. Jiangxi Shuosheng Ecological Agriculture Science & Technology Co. Ltd
Jiangxi Shuosheng Ecological Agriculture Science & Technology Co. Ltd, is awarded with a 4 Star rating. They meet the criteria for no sows stalls or farrowing crates and do not practise tail docking, or teeth clipping. Whilst they provide bedding material in winter, we hope to see them find solutions for providing appropriate manipulable material to all pigs throughout the year.
3. Tongjiang Bashan Ecological Animal Husbandry Science and Technology Co. Ltd
Tongjiang Bashan Ecological Animal Husbandry Science and Technology Co. Ltd is a 4 Star winner for operating with indoor group housing and free farrowing systems for sows, and for not tail docking or teeth-clipping/grinding their piglets. Their meat pigs are finished in idyllic free-range conditions. This farm uses a more robust, traditional black breed of pig and produces 46 varieties of organic products.
3 Star Winners:
1. Sanmenxia Chuying Agro-Pastoral Co. Ltd
Sanmexia Chuying Agro-Pastoral Co. Ltd is a subsidiary of the Chuying Agro-Pastoral Group which sells approximately 1m pigs per annum. They were awarded a 2 Star Good Pig Production Award last year for their commitment to stop tail docking. This commitment has been successfully met and this year they have been recognised with a 3 Star Award for the additional commitment to stop teeth-clipping. The company has huge potential and ambition, and they aim to work with Compassion to progress to a 5 Star award.
2. Beijing Taixinfumin Pig Production Co. Ltd
Beijing Taixinfumin Pig Production Co. Ltd was awarded a 1 Star in 2014 and now increase their rating to a 3 Star Award for committing to no teeth clipping and no tail docking. We wish them every success in achieving these criteria successfully in the near future.
3. Handan Furun Ecological Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
Handan Furun Ecological Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd has plans to achieve no tail docking and no teeth-clipping in 5 years, earning them a 3 Star award. We wish them every success and look forward to liaising with them to see how they are getting on.
2 Star Winners:
1. Hainan Shengtai Agri-Husbandry Co. Ltd
Hainan Shengtai Agri-Husbandry Co. Ltd received a 2 Star award for group housing of sows in the gestation period and adopting a no teeth-clipping policy. The producer is keen to trial no tail docking, but needs to manage the provision of manipulable material in slatted pens in order to be successful. This current policy benefits 24,020 western breed pigs annually.
2. Changzhou Fenghua Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
Changzhou Fenghua Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd are awarded a 2 Star rating for meeting the basic criteria and for not teeth-clipping their piglets. This is a breeding company for Western white breeds and is highly specialised, we are therefore keen to engage with them to assess what other criteria they may be able to achieve in the future.
1 Star Winners:
1. Tianjing Hengtai Livestock Farming Co. Ltd
Tianjing Hengtai Livestock Farming Co. Ltd received 1 Star award for meeting the basic requirements of the GPPA, which include group housing of sows in the gestation period. We will continue to engage with this farm on the provision of manipulable material, especially for their sows as the pens have solid floors, and no tail docking of their piglets, which the farm are keen to trial. The farm has 5,000 breeding sows of a western breed and we look forward to engaging with them to raise their star rating the future.
2. Zhong Dao Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd
Zhong Dao Animal Husbandry Co Ltd are awarded a 1 Star Good Pig Production Award this year for housing their sows in groups during the gestation period. This company has 3 high-tech farms, each with 800 sows, and they show a great desire to continue to improve their welfare standards in future and advance to a challenging 3 Star Award.