Demand for humane practices raise questions for pig industry

Consumers want more humanely raised meat and food companies want to provide it. Now pig producers are promising more humane measures in the way they raise pigs. But just what those measures will be remains a question in an industry still dominated by the sow gestation crate, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pig-related infections spread in Denmark, may be in U.S. too

A recent study from Denmark shows that a strain of drug-resistant staph carried by pigs is causing severe illnesses in people who have no contact with pigs or farms. The infections have occurred even though Denmark has some of the most stringent controls on antibiotic use and the study’s …

Smithfield gets into the organ-transplant business

Smithfield Farms, the world’s largest pork producer, is launching a bioscience arm to ramp up company sales of pig parts for medical procedures. The $14-billion subsidiary of China’s WH Group hopes to one day offer pig organs for human transplants.

Pig CAFOs influence timing of human flu seasons, study shows

The enormous numbers of animals concentrated in industrial pig farms are changing the pattern of flu seasons, by providing flu viruses a place to jump between humans and animals and multiply faster than they otherwise would, according to new research from North Carolina — a state that is second only to Iowa in pig production.

North Carolina pork industry: ‘Much less damage’ than in previous storms

In the floods caused by Hurricane Matthew, manure lagoons on North Carolina hog farms "withstood the storm remarkably well," said the North Carolina Pork Council. Fourteen lagoons were flooded and only one lagoon was partially breached — on a farm that has not housed hogs "for more than five years, significantly minimizing the environmental impact."

To reduce antibiotic use, feed your sows some seaweed

Researchers at University College in Dublin, Ireland say that feeding seaweed, a popular ingredient in ancient Chinese medicine, to sows can improve the health of their offspring and reduce the use of antimicrobials, says the Aberdeen (Scotland) Press and Journal.

USDA finds second pig sample with ‘superbug’ gene

Government scientists found the MCR-1 gene, which allows bacteria to overcome the last-resort antibiotics used against disease in humans, in a sample taken from a different pig than the first U.S. discovery, said a CDC official. The initial case, reported on the same day as discovery of a Pennsylvania woman with an infection that carried the MCR-1 gene, raised fears of "superbug" bacteria resistant to a broad array of antimicrobials.

In North Carolina, hog manure is a civil rights issue

A nonprofit law firm and the Center for Civil Rights is using federal civil rights laws in a challenge to the pork industry in North Carolina, says Civil Eats. "This crisis involves the lasting impact of pollution from large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) housing pigs," writes Steve Holt.

Going beyond heart valves in transplant organs from pigs

"Transplanted heart valves routinely come from pigs as well as cows," says the Los Angeles Times, but it's not as simple to use swine organs for people who need kidneys, livers or lungs.

U.S. hog inventory hits a record high

Two years after Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea killed 7 million piglets and drove up pork prices, hog farmers have rebuilt their herds. The quarterly Hogs and Pigs report says there are a record 68.3 million hogs on the farm, "the highest inventory of all hogs and pigs since quarterly U.S. estimates began in 1988."