Chinese consumers support better welfare for pigs

16 August 2016

Our new survey reveals Chinese people are willing to pay more for higher welfare pork

The treatment of farm animals is the world’s biggest animal welfare issue – and it’s getting bigger.  More than 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year, two-thirds of them in conditions that mean they can’t move freely or live naturally.

China is home to over half of the world’s pig population, and demand for pork has meant many food suppliers are overlooking animal welfare in favour of low cost meat – resulting in the suffering of millions of pigs every single day, with sows confined in crates or cages for most of their lives.

A new survey carried out by World Animal Protection*, reveals an appetite for change in China. Almost 90% of Chinese consumers surveyed said they would be willing to change their purchasing habits, to move to pork products from pigs that have lived better lives.

The survey, 'Chinese Consumers Ready for High-Welfare Pork', also reveals:

  • Almost 72% of respondents consider the welfare of farm animals important
  • Over 83% want to see production systems that give pigs the freedom to move, not confining pigs to stalls (pictured)
  • Over 75% would be willing to pay more for higher welfare pork
  • Almost 77% of consumers would choose retailers who provide higher welfare pork.

Chu Xueqin, Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection China, said: “There is a growing awareness among Chinese people about the importance of animal welfare, and a growing demand for the food we eat to come from farm animals with a better quality of life.

“In industrial farming pigs are being kept in cruel, cramped and barren conditions, for the majority of their lives. These highly intelligent and social animals will resort to biting each other, and crowded conditions can lead to the spread of infection, increasing the need for antibiotics.”

Chang Zhigang, Director of China Veterinary Medicine Association’s Animal Health and Welfare Branch, added: "High animal welfare is the best immunity for farm animals. Therefore, high welfare farming systems help to reduce animal disease and improve pork safety. We are drafting a national standard for farm animal welfare, which will help to improve farm animal welfare and produce safer and healthier meat products. "

World Animal Protection is working to to create better lives for pigs – because all animals deserve a life worth living. We are moving the pig industry, farmers, retailers and the government to adopt higher welfare alternatives to intensive pig farming; encouraging farmers to adopt better welfare standards for pigs, and supermarkets to listen to consumers and offer better welfare pork products.

“The message is loud and clear for farmers, food suppliers, and supermarkets: consumers want to see higher welfare pork on the shelves,” Chu Xueqin added.

“Good animal welfare is good for pigs, good for people, good for business and good for China's sustainable development.”

The full report is available here (Chinese). World Animal Protection China, has produced an educational video with English subtitles, inviting more consumers to make their demand for higher-welfare pork heard by the industry. Watch the video here.

 

*World Animal Protection commissioned independent market survey company TOP Think Tank on the survey and interviewed 2,070 consumers of different ages and income levels from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

“The message is loud and clear for farmers, food suppliers, and supermarkets: consumers want to see higher welfare pork on the shelves,” Chu Xueqin, Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection China.
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