Many folks agree with Homer Simpson's astute observation about pigs: "A wonderful, magical animal." But whether that respect comes because of their intelligence, their beady-eyed cuteness, or the way they transform into bacon, hog production certainly raises issues--some of them controversial. Recent news items include a variety of porcine topics, and this list will keep you up on some of the many developments in Pig World.
Odor in the Court: A North Carolina court case pits corporate hog producers against citizen plaintiffs. The pig farm neighbors say their lives are adversely affected by odor and other issues. The corporations call it a "money grab."
High-rise Hog Heaven? Chinese developers already have 7-story pig confinement--and they might go as high as 13 floors. The facilities have cooling systems and virus filters; they say the installment costs will be compensated by the need for fewer workers. We assume the pigs will not have to learn how to take an elevator.
Sow Research: The National Pork Board awarded funding to Iowa State University to
study a sow mortality syndrome that has increased in recent years.
Zoonotic Virus? In China, an outbreak of SADS--swine acute diarrhea syndrome—has killed
more than 24,000 baby pigs. Some think bats could be the source.
Pig Poop Power: Back to North Carolina where a company is producing pipeline-quality biogas from hog farms.
Pigs at Play: Spanish scientists say that environmental richness (toys and games) and a herbal compound (hmmm, can we call it "pig zen"?) reduce stress and improve pig welfare.
I grew up on a pig farm, so I know how they relieved stress when I was a kid--they stood around grunting and chortling every Saturday as they watched us pitch their manure into a spreader, and they occasionally turned "free range" as they cleverly escaped from our rather porous pastures and feedlots. I admire those with the patience and fortitude to raise pigs, but I'm not sad to leave my hog herding days behind. These blogs refer to links and observations about pig production.
(1) Pigs That Fly, Use Toys, and Drink Beer
(2) Head 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out, Hog Style
by dan gogerty (top pic from pig.jpg, middle pic from whybuilding.jpg, and bottom pic from adorablog.org)