Written by: Lacie Dotterweich | October 9, 2020
Animal agriculture is taking sustainability seriously and is making great strides in reducing its footprint and taking care of animals. To commemorate National Pork Month, or Porktober, as it’s affectionately known as, I would like to share how this important sector of the agricultural industry is committing itself to taking care of both animals and our planet.
Earlier this year, the pork industry released a new sustainability report titled, “Commit and Improve: Pig Farmers’ Approach to Sustainability.” The report shows pig farmers’ progress toward sustainability through the “We Care” ethical principles, which include data on food safety, animal well-being, the environment, public health, our people and communities.
The report details how agriculture accounts for only 9% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, of which, pork production accounts for less than .3%. In addition, in the past 55 years, pork production has seen a major reduction in the use of natural resources. Per pound of pork produced, U.S. pork producers have reduced land use by 76%, water use by 25%, energy use by 7% and their carbon footprint by more than 7%.
The pork industry isn’t just improving in environmental sustainability, but in food safety and animal-well being as well. Animal nutrition is a big part of that and as the report states, healthy pigs require healthy diets. Pig farmers work with nutritionists to develop animal diets that are nutritionally balanced, age-appropriate and sustainable by using strategies that target efficient production, maximize animal health and follow proper feed processing and biosecurity protocols. Improved and modern animal housing also allows farmers to control access and prevent the introduction and spread of disease.
Brett Kaysen, vice president of sustainability for the Pork Checkoff, said it best, “The findings in the sustainability report and on porkcares.org not only illustrate our commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, but also show our commitment to transparency as an industry.”
See other stats about the pork industry from AFIA’s latest infographic (below).