Blogger Exposes Questionable Practices in China’s Pork Production

December 12, 2008 Updated: June 15, 2010

A Chinese blogger recently exposed startling facts about China’s pork industry, creating public concern over safety. According to the blogger, the use of cheap growth hormone and other additives may be potentially harmful to human health. The questionable practices used in raising pigs have been a tool for farmers to maximize profit.

According to the blogger, an insider from Sichuan Province with years of experience in the animal feed industry shared many previously unknown secrets about the industry.
Farm pigs are fed additives so that they can reach appropriate weight for slaughter within five to six months, according to the insider. Within six months, piglets weighing only ten to twenty pounds can reach over 300 pounds. This has become common practice in tens of thousands of pig farms across China.

Pigs reared in such a fashion usually eat two to three pounds of feed per day and spend most of the day sleeping. Once the pigs start to gain weight exponentially, physical activity is almost completely replaced by sleeping and eating.

When the pigs reach a hundred pounds, farmers sometimes add urea, arsenic, hormones, and sedatives to encourage further growth, revealed the blog. The blogger also said that most pig farmers and others involved in meat production rarely eat pigs raised in this fashion themselves. The farmers raise a separate batch of pigs with natural feed for their own consumption.

Similar feeds are used for chickens, ducks, fish, cows and goats. It is believed that this quick method of rearing animals has allowed China to be ranked as the world’s number one meat producer for the past several years.

Rearing pigs to an appropriate slaughter weight with a natural diet and normal feed usually takes a year. Without the added sedatives and other chemicals, the pigs also are able to get to have more physical activity during their lifetime.

There are concerns that side effects may occur in humans who consume such pork. It is reported that early menstruation in girls is associated with consuming pork raised with growth hormones. Further research is needed to determine whether long-term consumption of such foods could lead to chronic diseases in humans.

Original article in Chinese.