Open Philanthropy invests in the welfare of pigs in China

Open Philanthropy invests in the welfare of pigs in China

Press release

World Animal Protection’s partnership with Open Philanthropy will improve the lives of millions of pigs in China.

A half million-dollar philanthropic grant is set to improve the lives of millions of pigs through increasing engagement with the public and key decision makers, and the piloting of higher welfare pig farms.

As global demand for pork increases, the Open Philanthropy Project is investing in World Animal Protection’s work with producers, retailers, civil society and animal welfare bodies in China to give pigs better lives.

China is the world’s largest pork producer, rearing around half of the world’s pigs every year – around 700 million animals. To keep costs low, many of these pigs are farmed in industrial, systems. Growing pigs are kept in cramped, barren conditions, and sows are confined to narrow stalls for most of their lives, where they can’t even turn around and will never see daylight.

The growth in large-scale industrial farming has resulted in significant welfare challenges for hundreds of millions of pigs throughout the world.

Jonty Whittleton, Acting Director for the Animals in Farming Programme at World Animal Protection says: “Industrially farmed pigs spend most of their lives in cruel, cramped and barren conditions. Due to extreme boredom and frustration, these highly intelligent and social animals often show abnormal behaviours – such as bar biting for sows – and they suffer poor health from lack of exercise and from lying on hard, uncomfortable floors. The crowded conditions that growing pigs are reared in can lead to the spread of infection, increasing the need for antibiotics.”

“World Animal Protection welcomes the investment by the Open Philanthropy Project, which will play a key role in driving the adoption of higher welfare group-housing systems in China. Our work in China is good news for pigs and for businesses, improving the bond of trust between consumers, retailers and producers.”

Consumer attitudes towards pig production and the suffering of pigs is also changing with more demand for animals to be raised humanely. A public survey conducted by World Animal Protection of over 2,000 adults in China showed:

  • 71% of respondents consider the welfare of animals of importance
  • 83% want to see production systems that give pigs the freedom to move rather than confine them to stalls
  • 75% would be willing to pay more for higher welfare pork
  • 76% of respondents would choose retailers who provide higher welfare pork.

The grant by the Open Philanthropy Project is set to:

  • Pilot and promote higher-welfare pig farming solutions with leading Chinese pork producers.
  • Engage and influence food retailers to improve the welfare of the pigs in their supply chains.
  • Influence the government to implement higher welfare standards.
  • Educate the public about the suffering of pigs in low welfare systems and raise consumer demand for higher welfare pork products.

Lewis Bollard, Farm Animal Welfare Program Officer, at Open Philanthropy Project says: “This is a great opportunity to shape the future of farm animal welfare in China. We’re excited to be supporting World Animal Protection’s work to promote the adoption of higher-welfare pig farming models in China."

World Animal Protection has a strong track record of effective collaboration with business to improve the lives of farm animals. In Latin America, for example, a partnership with BRF ­­– one of the world’s largest pork producers – has led to a commitment to eliminating the use of stalls for the 365,000 sows in its supply chain by 2026. This will allow the animals much more freedom to express normal behaviours.


Notes to editors:

  • World Animal Protection will be working with veterinary bodies in China such as International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW) and Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).
  • For interviews, contact Kai Akram, International Media Manager on +44 (0) 20 7239 0542 or to speak to an expert.

About World Animal Protection: World Animal Protection is a global non-governmental organisation whose mission is to move the world to protect animals, working closely with businesses, local communities, governments and the public. They believe that many of the world’s social and environmental challenges can only be truly overcome if animals are part of the solution. Using evidence-based research, they expose animal welfare issues and work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to deliver positive, sustainable change for animals. They have put animal welfare on global agendas, including ensuring animal protection and related issues were incorporated into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals targets.

About Open Philanthropy Project: The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its mission is to give as effectively as it can and share the findings openly so that anyone can build on them.