Taiwan's largest pork producer unveils historic pig welfare commitments

Share to: facebook line LinkedIn WhatsApp line
EAST (back right) and legislator Lin Shu-fen (center) meet with Taisugar executives and officials from the Council of Agriculture to demand animal welfare improvements for pigs.

On June 16, 2017, Taiwan’s largest pork producer, Taisugar, announced a set of unprecedented commitments to improve the welfare of pigs on its Taiwanese farms.


Taisugar pledged to transition to group housing for sows and adjustable farrowing crates for pregnant and lactating sows. The new housing systems will provide each sow with at least 6 square meters of space, replacing cruel forms of confinement that restrict even the most basic movements.


Taisugar also committed to fully comply with Taiwan’s new pig welfare guidelines announced earlier this month. The guidelines include strict restrictions on painful mutilations – including teeth clipping and grinding, castration and ear notching – and requirements for on-farm enrichments. Taisugar committed to complete the transition by 2024.


Finally, Taisugar pledged to end the use of swine fever vaccines produced using live rabbits in its swine fever prevention program.


The state-run enterprise unveiled the ground-breaking commitments after the Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) and legislator Lin Shu-fen met with senior Taisugar executives and government officials to discuss how Taisugar could improve its farming practices.


Days earlier, on June 13, Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) enacted the Definition and Guidelines of Friendly Pig Production Systems. The guidelines feature specific criteria to improve the welfare of boars, sows, piglets, weaner pigs and finisher pigs at each stage of the rearing process, signifying an important step forward for pigs in Taiwan.


The COA said that the guidelines would provide clear guidance for farmers transitioning to higher welfare farming, while pledging to identify and reward industry role models. The authority also said it would provide assistance to retailers that sell higher welfare products.


The developments come after EAST held a press conference on May 10 – in the lead up to Mother’s Day – exposing the plight of these sensitive animals. Each year, around 600,000 sows are crammed into gestation crates and farrowing crates barely larger than their own bodies. At the press conference, EAST urged the authorities to set a clear timeline to phase out gestation crates and urged Taisugar to lead by example by taking concrete steps to improve the welfare of farmed animals.


Yu-Min Chen, Deputy Chief Executive of EAST, applauded Taisugar for its firm commitment to improving animal welfare, and for being the first in the industry to adopt the new guidelines enacted by the COA, stating “we commend Taisugar’s meaningful steps to improve the welfare of pigs in its care.”


“While this is a promising start, we urge consumers to seek out products with animal welfare certification when they shop, or better still, make conscious efforts to reduce their meat consumption” said Ms. Chen.


Translated by Vivian Lau