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Disease prevention and health

The natural pig farming system promotes good pig health. This means we don?t have to wage a daily battle to try to keep our animals disease free and save on expensive courses of medication. It also ensures pig growth is not retarded or slowed. It is extremely rare that our pigs get ill and require any medical treatment. Factors that support the raising of healthy pigs and the absence of disease include:

  • a naturally hygienic environment created with the help of beneficial IMO?s (indigenous micro-oragnisms)
  • no flies or filth to spread disease
  • stress-free animals more resistant to disease
  • open air exposure ensure healthy environment as pathogenic agents and viruses do not build up
  • feed that is high in natural vitamins and minerals
  • good animal husbandry

As a result we don't need to routinely feed anti-biotics to our pigs to stave off disease.

An example of NPF disease control approach

We don’t need to give our pigs the vast array of iron and vitamin supplement factory farming requires.

Here's one example of how we limit disease through actively promoting natural health. Piglets are born iron deficient. This can result in anemia if not attended to. Unlike factory farms we don't give iron injections to our piglets shortly after they are born. Instead we throw some red soil, which is high in iron and other beneficial minerals, into the pen where the piglets the day after the piglets are born and ensure that the red soil is available to them for the next week. The piglets instinctively eat this and so get all iron protection they need. In other parts of the world the giving of a sod of minerally rich earth can also provide the missing piglet iron. All our mixed pig feeds contains red soild as one element. This ensures that our growing pigs, sows and boars all receive the iron and trace minerals required for their good health.

Disease control and pig health in factory farms

Disease is the most obvious sign of poor animal welfare. Controlling disease is high on the agenda in factory farms. This is because the system pigs are raised in creates huge health risks to the pigs being raised. These environmentally induced diseases and conditions are more prevalent in factory farms because:

  • Crowded and humid conditions encourage the spread of infectious diseases like pneumonia
  • Ammonia pollution and stress reduces the pigs immune system disease resistance capacity
  • Less efficient excrement cleaning systems leave floor a breeding ground for bacteria
  • Lack of pen space leads to pigs lying in their own filth and excrement

- Makes picking up illness more likely

- Causes a higher level of urinary infections than deep bed or free range

  • Hard and slatted floors make physical injuries and illness more likely - lameness is more frequent due to the hard unyielding surfaces pig are raised on factory farms.
  • Pigs suffer higher levels of psychological problems due to deprivations inherent in factory farm system. This stress lowers disease resistance in pigs.

As a result factory farms need to have strict bio security measures, must vaccinate their pigs against many known virus?s, and must routinely use antibiotics to try to keep the pigs healthy enough to survive in the high bacteria, high virus environment they are kept in.

Natural pig farming in comparison has none of these problems. With fresh air, healthy deep floor bedding and sensible stocking density we raise stress-free, disease-free pigs. They are happy and healthy and thrive in the environment they live in.

Natural pig farming v factory farming