Around the globe, U.S. pig farms are trying to satisfy an increasing appetite for pork. But what’s good for exporters may not be good for the environment.
China’s pork producing giant, Shuanghui recently purchased America’s top pork producer, Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion. One of the appealing features of American pork for consumers throughout Asia and Europe are the strict U.S. government health regulations the US pork industry must follow. It is to ensure that its meat is safe and healthy to eat.
However, there is a lot of criticism from environmentalists about the effect that hydrogen sulfide gases from pig manure, is having on the environment and water. Pig farms release huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Large pools of manure can seep into water supplies.
And for Environmental Activist Bob Watson, his message is clear to the Asian and European consumers of U.S. pork. “They get meat and we’re the toilet. We are left with the water pollution, the health effects. We even have deaths from hydrogen sulfide in confinements,” he says.
Across the Midwestern United States, there is a landscape of rural farming communities where farmers have been raising hogs, in many cases for more than a century. And it’s where much of the pork comes from. Almost five billion pounds of pork were exported to Asia and Europe last year, estimating about six billion dollars’ worth.
Brad and Meg Freking are among America’s most successful and wealthiest pork producers. They are owners of one of the top pork producing companies, New Fashion Pork. The company produces 1.2 million pigs across four different states with annual worldwide sales of 250 million dollars. Currently however, Freking says the pork industry is suffering from another virus outbreak, called the P.E.D. Even though it is nonthreatening to humans, it has claimed the lives of three million piglets in 25 U.S. states.
And with this outbreak, the pork supply is shrinking, and prices are rising.
Our CCTV America correspondent, Mike Kirsch takes a look at what the industry is doing to safely feed an ever-growing hunger for pork, and gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one of the top hog farms in the country.
Environmental problems confront pig farmingAround the globe, U.S. pig farms are trying to satisfy an increasing appetite for pork. But what’s good for exporters may not be good for the environment.
Watch all the segments on this week’s Americas Now.