How Many Pigs are Killed Each Year?

Pork or meat can be a touchy subject and often the cause of heated discussion between vegans and unrepentant carnivores.

No matter what your take is on eating pork in general, the demand for pork is skyrocketing, therefore, the number of pigs getting slaughtered each year is also increasing dramatically.

With each passing year, more pigs are killed for food. In fact, hogs are one of the commonly killed animals along with cattle, chickens, and turkeys.

Keeping aside the general view on the ethics of eating meat, pigs go through a cruel slaughtering process.

Factory-farmed pigs are kept in confined places and given special feed to promote rapid growth.

In the last decade, larger livestock are killed for food and other purposes, cattle and pigs being the top contenders.

Billions of animals are killed each year to satisfy the meat requirements of humans. It should not come as a surprise to you that pigs do contribute a lot yearly to fulfill the global meat demand.

Pig farming is at an all-time high, farmers make sure that the pigs reach “market weight” quickly to transport them for slaughter. So, exactly how many pigs are killed each year worldwide?

How Many Pigs Are Killed Each Year?

You would be surprised to learn that approximately 1.5 billion pigs are killed each year to meet the ever-growing requirements of pork, bacon, ham, and sausages.

The number of pigs getting slaughtered annually has tripled in the last five decades. Nearly 4 million pigs are killed each day around the world.

The number of pigs killed in each country is different depending on the demand and the people’s taste for pork.

The life spent by the pigs is different from what you see in the movies. Most of them do not sprawl pastures and relax in the sun. Wild Pigs spent different lifetimes. Pigs have predators in the wild which can cause the killing of pigs.

After giving birth, the sow is shifted to the “farrowing” crates where there is only enough space to lie down to nurse the babies.

Piglets are then separated from their mother and the sow is impregnated again and the cycle continues till she is slaughtered.

That’s how farmers are increasing the number of pigs to meet the demands and make more profit.

Piglets are fed a special diet to reach the ‘market weight’ quickly, ideally within six months.

Once they reach above 280 lbs pig weight, the hog is transported to the slaughterhouse.

As per some studies, a typical slaughterhouse slaughters nearly 1000 hogs per hour. Most of the time, these pigs’ deaths are not humane or painless.

The number of pigs killed yearly in different countries varies according to the demand.

For instance, the demand for pork is not as high in middle eastern countries as compared to China or the US.

Some cultures or religions prohibit eating pork, therefore, the market for pork is not quite high in Muslim countries.

How Many Pigs Are Killed Each Year in the US?

America is one of the biggest pork-consuming countries and the US citizens love the taste of pig meat.

In the US, more than 75 million pigs are farmed on any given day and more than 121 million pigs are killed every year.

America has a high demand for meat, dairy, and eggs, therefore, about 10 billion land animals are killed annually to fulfill the need.

The cruel practice of pig farming would not have existed in the first place, had there not been any demand for pig products.

As per the report of Sentience Institute, about 98.3% of pigs live in factory farms in the US.

On average, a meat-eating American consumes about 31 pigs in his life which equates to 10 cows, 71 turkeys, or more than 2000 chickens.

In the coming years, we can expect an increase in pig farming as well as the number of pigs killed for food.

Top Pork-Consuming Countries

Some countries kill more pigs to meet the demand for pork, it all depends on the country’s love for pork and pig products.

Some countries like the US and China raise more pigs to satisfy the requirements for pork.

The following data will help you get a better understanding of the pig slaughter statistics as per different countries.

China

China grabs the top spot for the highest number of pigs slaughtered for food each year.

There are about 450 million pigs slaughtered yearly which makes up for nearly a quarter of the world’s pork supply.

China has a large population and the people love pork, therefore, more and more pigs are killed for meat annually.

Unfortunately, millions of pigs were slaughtered last year due to African Swine fever resulting in up to 55% loss of pig herd.

The United States of America

The second country with a higher pork demand is the United States where more than 121 million pigs are killed each year to satisfy the appetite for pork.

Brazil

Brazil is one of the top meat-consuming countries having a higher number of kills. Each year, close to 47 million pigs are killed for meat.

There has been a continual increase in demand in recent years. About a 25% increase in demand was recorded in comparison to 2014.

Canada

Canada may not slaughter as many pigs as China or America, however, the demand is increasing over time. More than 21 million pigs are killed a year to meet the domestic market needs.

Japan

There has been a slight increase in the number of pigs killed in Japan over the last few years.

About 16.5 million pigs are killed each year for pork production.

The United Kingdom

In the UK, about 10 million pigs are slaughtered for human consumption. On average, nearly 80000 pigs are killed each day.

Conclusion

Each day more than 200 million animals are slaughtered for food around the globe. Pork is one of the popular meat options, therefore, the number of pigs getting slaughtered is increasing drastically. On factory farms, pigs are raised in the shortest possible time and reach ‘market weight’ quickly to be prepared for slaughter.

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  • Hi, I am Talon Juper, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breeding. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder.

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