With the rapid rise of the industrial food animal production system, an increasing number of food animals once raised on pastures are now raised in feedlots. Feedlot-raised animals are kept indoors for the majority of the year, and they are given feed formulated to speed their growth to market weight and supply them with essential nutrients, while minimizing costs to operators. Concerns have arisen about the content of these feeds as grain-based diets can produce serious and sometimes fatal digestive tract problems in food animals such as cows, goats, and sheep whose stomachs are best suited to digesting high-cellulose containing plants like grass. Recent studies have shown that chemical additives in feed may accumulate in animal tissues, potentially exposing consumers to unwanted chemicals such as veterinary drug residues and heavy metals. Livestock producers often use corn and soy as a base for their animal feed because these protein-rich grains help bring animals to market weight faster, and because they are cheaper than other feed options as a result of government subsidies.
As a result, a large percentage of grains grown in the US are used in animal feed, with 47% of soy and 60% of corn produced in the US being consumed by livestock. Although cheap feed grains mean lower meat and dairy prices for consumers, meat from grass fed animals is often lower in saturated fat than meat from grain fed animals. Unlike pasture raised animals, grain fed cattle are often raised on grass early in their lives, then moved to a feedlot where they are fed rations composed of 70 to 90 percent grain. On industrial hog farms, these large herds are kept in crowded quarters, increasing the probability of agression between animals and making the spread of diseases easier because of close contact between hogs. Hogs naturally want to root and dig during feeding, so allowing these behaviors in the pasture reduces aggression and agitation among members of the herd, improving the overall health of the animals.
The Results The overreliance on grain-based animal feeds in industrial food animal production has negative consequences for animal health, the environment, and even human health. Considering the natural eating habits of livestock animals when formulating animal feeds would be beneficial to both animals and consumers, and will result in healthier herds and flocks, less reliance on antibiotics to control disease, as well as a lower chance of introducing certain pathogens into society via contaminated meat.
We Pigs News for 05-31-2018
Global animal health organization says pigs should be housed in groups A Humane Nation. Photo by The HSUS. The World Organization for Animal Health, an international body that sets standards for animal health in international trade, says that sows should be housed in groups because they are social animals. On May 24th, veterinary delegates to the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris, which has 181 member countries, voted to include a new chapter on the welfare of pigs in the organization’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The code is not binding on member countries, but recommendations may be used as a basis for animal welfare legislation, and are referenced as an authoritative source of animal welfare information by governments.
In many of these member countries, industrial farming is rising sharply, but animal welfare is still a new concept. In 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that more than half of the nearly 1.5 billion pigs in the world are raised in intensive production systems, including gestation crates, which are cages so small that the animals cannot even turn around. The chapter further advises that animal handlers be trained and skilled, and that daily animal inspections be conducted. Humane Society International contributed to the development of the draft chapter through our membership in the International Coalition for Animal Welfare, the official body of animal protection organizations recognized by the OIE. A number of nations, including New Zealand, Israel, India, Sweden and the United Kingdom, have banned gestation crates and their use is restricted in the European Union and Canada.
We have led successful campaigns to pass legislation banning or phasing out the use of gestation crates in 10 states, and in California, we are poised to place a measure on the November 2018 ballot that would end the intensive confinement of breeding sows, hens and calves and the sale of products that come from these animals. If left as is, the resulting fumes would kill the animals, so the CAFOs use fans to blow the toxic air out of the building – and into the surrounding communities. Preventive strategies include interventions to prevent farm animals from acquiring NiV eating fruit contaminated by bats. Nipah virus which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, horses can spread from animals to humans and can sometimes cause serious illness among humans.
Best Friends Animal Society
Here at Best Friends, we feed our pigs a very healthy vegetarian diet twice daily. Every meal, our pigs receive fresh heads of romaine lettuce, fresh or frozen vegetables, and Mazuri Mini Pig pellets. Finding a veterinarian who has pig experience is a must, and he/she can help direct you appropriately to make sure your pig eats a proper diet for a long, happy and healthy life. All pigs need their hooves trimmed, but an active pig will typically self-trim and need human intervention less often. We highly recommend spaying or neutering your pet pig, and no pig leaves our sanctuary intact.
We provide an array of housing options for our pigs. In the winter months, our pigs have a choice of large heated communal housing or small non-heated houses. We use timothy hay since most other types of hay are much too rich for the pigs. The pigs run all over because they are convinced the next trough has something better. Once a piglet grows up into a full-sized potbellied pig which can take up to three years, their cuteness may wear off, especially if the pig has taken up naughty habits.
The pig will have already been spayed or neutered, and assessed by staff for behavior issues, and you will be saving a life rather than contributing to the problem of homeless pet pigs. For every pig that leaves the Sanctuary for his or her forever home, we have a list of pigs anxiously waiting to come here.