Legalisation of pig swill could cut farmers’ costs and help reduce food waste

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A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge have found that revoking the EU ban on pig swill could reduce pig farmers costs by up to 50 per cent and reduce land usage.

Pig swill feeding was banned by the UK government in 2001 after the foot-and-mouth epidemic of the same year which saw the UK economy lose £8billion as a direct result of the outbreak. The epidemic was started by a British pig farmer who had been feeding uncooked food waste to his pigs (food waste being processed for pig swill should be heated during the production).

Research finds that revoking pig swill ban could reduce land usage

Findings show that pig swill could reduce land usage

The EU imposed a pig swill ban in 2002 following the UK’s ban the previous year, but researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology have found that some Asian countries, which regulate heat-treated pig swill production, have got the right idea.

At present, farmers throughout the EU are expected to fatten up their pigs with grain and soya-bean feed, which is costly and requires much land for its production, but the study by the university found that 24 per cent of the 313 smallholder farmers asked, feed their pigs uncooked food waste anyway.

The university study said: “While swill feeding is not a substitute for efforts to reduce food waste, our results suggest that changing EU legislation to promote the use of food waste as swill could substantially reduce the land use impacts of EU pork production.”

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