1.2M Pigs to Meet Demise Annually in New 'Pig Hotel'

Dozens of similar facilities are planned in coming years
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2022 4:25 PM CST

Pigs are big business in China, which consumes about half of the world’s pork, but pig farms require lots of space. They also produce a slurry of toxic biproducts and—above all—are vulnerable to disease outbreaks like African swine fever, which wiped out 100 million pigs between 2018 and 2020. To meet demand and reduce risks, the Guardian reports that China is developing massive multistory farms like the 26-story "pig hotel" that recently became operational in the city of Ezhou, Hubei province. The first few thousand pigs were admitted in October.

When fully operational, the two-building farm will be able to slaughter about 1.2 million pigs per year. The pigs will live in temperature and ventilation-controlled conditions and be sustained via 30,000 "feeding spots" managed from a central control room. Waste will be treated and reused for power generation and water heating. The project is owned by a company called Zhongxin Kaiwei Modern Farming, an investment firm that until recently focused on cement production but decided to diversify during a slump in China’s construction industry. The company will also divert heat from a nearby cement factory to help keep the pigs warm, according to industry publication Pig Progress.

Disease prevention is one of the main reasons for the multistory farms. Workers go through multiple rounds of disinfection before entering, and they live within the facility, according to Baidu. As such, the farm is stocked with exercise equipment, ping-pong tables, and other "leisure and entertainment facilities." Dozens of other multistory farms are planned around the country, but experts interviewed by the Guardian expressed skepticism that such facilities will reduce disease risk. "I have heard multiple reports of 'biosecurity,' 'efficiency' and 'sustainability,'" said one. "We hear the same storytelling for US indoor facilities. However, there is very little evidence that these intensive facilities have any of those benefits in reality." (Read more pork stories.)

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