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Spanish campaigners have called for a moratorium on new pig farms as new Government figures reveal that the number of pigs slaughtered in the country each year outnumbers the entire Spanish population.
According to a 2017 report, the number of pigs slaughtered in Spain exceeded 50 million for the first time. The country’s population is currently 46.5 million.
The number of pigs has boomed in recent years, with pork meat production increasing by 20 percent, largely in a bid to meet the growing Chinese demand for pork. Around of the pig meat produced in Spain is exported.
The growing pig population is having a dangerous impact on the environment in multiple ways. For example, environmentalists claim nitrates from animal waste are contaminating groundwater.
In addition, only transport, electricity generation and industry generate more greenhouse gas emissions than livestock. The pigs also require large amounts of water – which is problematic in a country which is often affected by drought.
Speaking to a Spanish news outlet Dani González, from Ecologists in Action, said: “We’ve moved to an industrial and intensive model with grave consequences for water resources and the atmosphere.”
As a result, the organization is demanding a moratorium on new pig farms.
The Spanish Government has pledged to implement new standards within pig farming, to improve the environment and hygiene – as well as animal health and welfare.
The announcements followed Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez taking office in June. As part of his plans to make the environment a priority policy, Sánchez separated the Ministry of Environment from its joint portfolio with agriculture, creating a new brief.