The Postedia

Pig macrofarms continue to spread throughout Spain: they grow by 6% in one year

Far from calming down, the heat for macrofarms has turned up, turning Spain into Europe’s pig factory. Large pig farms do not stop spreading and the environmental problems associated with them. The largest intensive pig farms increased by 6% in 12 months. According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture, there are 138 more type III farms.

After the whole storm that engulfed them in early 2022 has subsided, quarter after quarter, macrofarms have been growing. If in October 2021 this large farm was 2193, in March of last year it was already 2214, in June 2287, and in October 2022 it reached 2331. 6% jump – average growth for the decade is 4%.

Each of these macrofarms can contain more than 5,000 fattening pigs and another 750 breeding females. The legislation also allows the autonomous communities to increase this capacity by 20%. That is, more than 1000 additional pigs on the farm.

To this volume must be added Type II farms, which can accommodate up to 2,000 pigs (plus 200 females) and which also increased from 9,945 to 10,027 in 12 months. Not all of them reach the maximum, but in the end there are more than 3,300 pig farms in Spain that manage 2,000 or more specimens.

In this context, the number of pigs raised in Spain (mostly in intensive regimes such as macro farms) continues to increase. As of May 2022 – the most recent data available in agriculture – the number of census tracts was more than 32.5 million. In one year, it increased by 0.5%, while in the rest of the European pig countries – Germany, France, Poland, Denmark or the Netherlands – it fell.

So last year he continued to consolidate the intensive and concentrated model of pig farming. There are more and more pigs in Spain, but they are raised on fewer farms. Over the past decade, small and medium-sized farms have fallen by 22%. Only the highest production capacity increases.

The boom in pig production has made pork the most exported agricultural and livestock product in Spain. According to the Agri-Food Foreign Trade Report of the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2021 it was sold to other countries with a value of 5,500 million euros, ahead of citrus fruits and olive oil.

But, on the other side of this market niche, the concentration of thousands of pigs in factories continues to damage the air and water environment that this formula imposes.

The proliferation of mega-farms involving thousands of pigs has led Spain to systematically fail to comply with atmospheric emission limits for ammonia, which leads to the degradation of animal manure.

Spain has always exceeded the ammonia limits set by European regulations. Between 2010 and 2019, the cap was set at 373 kilotons. never fulfilled. From 2020, a legal revision came into force, the new ceiling of which was much more acceptable, but, for now, it is also out of the question.

Until 2029, ammonia emissions (mostly from pigs) will be 3% below the 482 kt registered in 2005. But in 2020, 483 kt was recorded; That is, not less than 2005. The latest data, which will be from 2021, is not yet available.

The problem is not a secret. In 2020, the government issued a decree on intensive pig farms, stating: “Pig production can have a significant impact, especially in relation to the production of nitrates and ammonia emissions into the atmosphere.”

The text sets out measures for farms to reduce these emissions, although for farms that already exist, they will come into force from January this year.

In addition to the air, as stated in the resolution, water is threatened by the intensive farming of thousands of pigs. Increasingly, sludge (animal waste mixed with water) can contaminate streams and aquifers with nitrates. A systemic problem in Spain, as analyzed by the European Commission, which took the state to the European Court of Justice for non-compliance with the law on water quality.

On December 6, the European Union agreed on a law against forest degradation caused by European consumption. Despite its flaws, it is fully operational at the link in the production chain that Spain’s pig macro-farms are involved in: importing soybeans for feed to feed the animals.

Soy “is the protein base of livestock feed,” describes Agriculture. And since it is hardly produced in Spain, it is “necessarily an imported product”. Spain has spent 1,700 million euros to buy soybeans in 2021. 49% more than the previous year, according to the Ministry’s annual report on foreign agri-food and fisheries trade.

And 67% of the total imported value of soybeans comes from Brazil. There, massive and intensive soy cultivation was behind the destruction of thousands of hectares of forest in the Amazon and El Cerrado. The pigs whose meat Spain exports eat soy (food), which is grown in Brazil at the cost of deforestation.

This indirect invoice is the one that tries to delimit the new European regulations. However, macrofarms continue to proliferate.

Source: El Diario





related posts

Post List

Hot News