Thursday, March 5, 2015

Chinese pigs

Scary quotes about the Chinese pork industry, from the Economist (h/t to Tyler Cowen):

Ms Schneider reckons that more than half of the world’s feed crops will soon be eaten by Chinese pigs. Already in 2010 China’s soy imports accounted for more than 50% of the total global soy market.

Entire species of plants and trees are being sacrificed to fatten China’s pigs.... In Brazil, more than 25m hectares of land—parts of which were once Amazon rainforest—are being used to cultivate soy.... Since 1990 the Argentine acreage given over to that crop has quadrupled: the country exports almost all of its whole soyabeans—around 8m tonnes—to China. When Shuanghui, China’s largest pork producer, bought Smithfield Foods, an American firm, in 2013, it acquired huge stretches of Missouri and Texas.

Feeding the pigs is not farmers’ only concern. Their greatest fear is disease [so they use antibiotics which] are associated with the emergence of “superbugs”, bacteria in animals and humans that are resistant to most antibiotics. These drugs pass into the wider food chain partly via sizzling plates of pork, and partly through the 5kg of manure that the average pig produces a day.... Porcine waste also contributes to emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Have a nice day.

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