The pig industry in particular has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% per kg of pork in 30 years thanks to technology
30, Aug 2022
The fake news about pork production is many, still all too common and also affects the pork supply chain. The most common ones concern not only the impact of meat on human health, portraying it as an unhealthy product, but also affect its environmental sustainability, in order to make people believe that pig farming is one of the biggest polluters of the planet.
This ideological misinformation happens especially on social media, but also in the media, as the topics of 'green' and 'vegan' are very 'trendy'. However, it is not fair to besmirch a sector that not only guarantees healthy and safe food for the population, but is also among those that are doing the most to reduce their environmental impact.
The pig industry in particular has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% per kg of pork in 30 years thanks to technology. The introduction of digital technology in livestock farming has made it possible to intensify production processes, which is a far cry from the negative term 'intensive livestock farming' that is still widespread in people's minds. 'Intensive' means producing more with fewer resources, thanks precisely to technological development that has brought more organisation of processes, resulting in less environmental impact per unit of product.
Water consumption is also a far cry from the absurd numbers circulating in the media (the best known being 15,000 litres per kg of beef). On the other hand, the old and wrong calculation method quantified for pigs around 6,000 litres of water per kg of pork. As for cattle, for which the water actually consumed dropped to just 790 litres per kg of meat, also for pigs more than 80 per cent of the water used is rainwater, which is not lost and is part of the natural water cycle. The actual water consumed taken from the water table or surface water bodies is only 548 litres of water per kg of pork.
The efficiency of pig farming is also measured in the feeding of animals, which is increasingly 'precision', i.e. offering each individual animal only the food and nutrients it really needs to cover its requirements, limiting waste. By-products recovered and recycled from other food chains are also used in pig feeding, turning waste into a resource and counting the pig supply chain among the most virtuous and efficient in this regard.
The pig supply chain is also one that has made great strides in improving animal welfare and reducing antibiotics. This has also been made possible by introducing pastime toys and hanging objects in the herds, which keep the animals busy, as well as enriching the environment with grubable materials such as straw, hay and wood, which stimulate their natural exploratory behaviour, removing the risk of monotony that causes aggression and stress. Thanks to increased welfare in the pig farming industry, the use of antibiotics has been greatly reduced. A path that will continue to improve year by year, because the whole sector wants to continue to make progress and ensure a healthy, safe and sustainable product.