Open Philanthropy $500k grant will help us improve millions of pigs’ lives in China

06 December 2016

The Open Philanthropy Project has granted us US$500,000 to help create better lives for millions of pigs. We’ll pilot higher welfare pig farms, and increase engagement with the public and key decision makers to improve life for pigs in China

The Open Philanthropy Project, a philanthropic organisation currently focussing on farm animal welfare, has chosen to invest half a million US dollars in our farming campaign. The grant will allow us to effectively work with producers, retailers, civil society and animal welfare bodies in China, and ultimately create better lives for millions of pigs. 

Suffering on a huge scale

As global demand for pork increases, pork producers are lowering animal welfare standards in an attempt to sell as much as possible, in the shortest amount of time.

China is the world’s largest pork producer, rearing around half of the world’s pigs every year – around 700 million animals.

Sows and piglets on the Yue Gangs' farm in Beijing, China

To keep costs low, many of these pigs are farmed in industrial systems. 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 poor welfare for hundreds of millions of pigs around the world.

How will the grant help pigs?

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."

An important investment for pigs

Jonty Whittleton, our Director of campaigns for animals in farming, says: "Due to extreme boredom and frustration, these highly intelligent and social animals often show abnormal behaviour such as bar biting. 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.

"We welcome 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."

Further progress for farm animals

We already work with businesses to improve the lives of farm animals, such as Brasil Foods (BRF), one of the world’s largest pork producers. This partnership has led to a commitment to eliminate stalls for the 365,000 sows in its supply chain by 2026, which will allow the animals much more freedom to express normal behaviours.

We look forward to helping even more animals through partnerships, using the Open Philanthropy grant.

Read more about our partnership with BRF.

"We’re excited to be supporting World Animal Protection’s work to promote the adoption of higher-welfare pig farming models in China."

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