There are a number of ways to raise pigs and different methods suit different farms/farmers. However, irrespective of the method used, animal welfare has to come first and foremost. Quite apart from the ethics of animal welfare, an animal that is well cared for will be more productive for the farmer.
There is also a degree of misunderstanding by the general public who are sometimes somewhat removed from their food sources. This tends to feed miscommunication, misunderstanding and distrust. For example, some people may think that growing pigs outside is better and this is not always the case. Both indoor and outdoor methods have advantages and disadvantages.
The videos below, which were produced by NZ Pork aim to show the different farming systems in use in New Zealand today.
All videos below are courtesy of NZ Pork
Outdoor Farrowing (birthing units)
Indoor Farrowing (birthing units)
Veterinarian Visit to a Pig Farm
Growing Pigs on an Indoor Pig Farm
Growing Pigs on an Outdoor Bred Pig Farm
Outdoor pork production means that breeding sows are kept outdoors for their entire life and their piglets are born and raised outdoors until weaning when they move to deep litter housing for growing and/or finishing.
Deep litter housing systems are normally comprised of large open-sided sheds, hoop-like structures, with deep litter flooring (rice hulls, straw, sawdust or similar), sometimes referred to generically as ‘deep litter housing’ that accommodate compatible groups of pigs.