Chinese farmers are selectively breeding pigs and fattening them up by making them consume a high-energy, high-protein diet of soya and wheat. Monster pigs weigh 79 stone, five times heavier than average pigs at 12.5 to 16 stone. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork, accounting for more than 60% of meat consumption among Chinese families. Unfortunately, prices soared by nearly 50% one year after herds were killed by African swine fever.
However, due to their massive size, monster pigs are at risk of illness. Animal welfare organizations are concerned about the pressure put on a pig’s heart, lungs, and legs. Peter Stevenson of Compassion in World Farming explains, “The largest pigs in Europe, bred for Parma ham, are 350lb and the average is 175lb to 220lb, so the size of these Chinese pigs is appalling. The pigs are being bred to three times the top size I have ever heard of and that could be extremely painful for the animals.”
|Photo Credit: The Sun|
Guangxi-region based farmer Pang Cong notes that his heaviest pig weighs almost 79 stone or 1,100 lbs. From its weight alone, it is possible to produce more than 4,000 sausages or rashers of bacon. A manager at one of the country’s top pig farms reportedly stated, “For us, the cost of raising pigs is about 10 yuan ($1.40) per kilo, while the pork prices are at 30 ($4.20) in some places.” For the manager, every kilo means doubling one’s profits. Now, people want to raise fatter pigs.
|Photo Credit: Reuters (via Mirror)|
Stevenson cites breeding broiler chickens as an example. According to him, raising supersized broiler chickens causes fluid to build up in the abdomen, as their heart cannot support their bodies. It’s the same case with monster pigs. He comments that a pig’s huge size will lead to respiratory problems and its legs and hips will more likely suffer problems due to its excess weight. He adds, “If it happened here, it would be likely to contravene animal cruelty laws.”