What defines socially sustainable swine breeding? Only focusing on maximizing the number of piglets per sow per year cannot be the goal of the industry. Within our Hypor breeding program, we have chosen to breed for a maximum of 16 piglets total born per litter and focus more on reducing losses at birth and during the period to weaning, raising average birth weight and increasing uniformity of the litter.
Consumers have the power to steer an entire industry towards what they see as responsible pig production, like we have seen with the ban on sow gestation crates in some countries, for example. For us, as an industry player, we can measure the sentiment with social media, be transparent, and educate the general public on best practices and industry standards. We want to actively engage in the conversation to better understand the consumer drivers and set new standards, making the pork industry more sustainable. To focus on the future of social sustainability, we examine the following areas:
- Defining animal welfare standards
- Examining social sustainability standards
- Selecting for self-reliant animals
What other standards should we set? Which steps do we need to take first? Finding solutions and opportunities in our industry will help us ensure that sustainability standards achieve societal acceptance, steering us all towards a brighter life tomorrow.