The term “pig farm” too often conjures up images of enormous intensive piggeries surrounded by acres of odorous manure lagoons. There are other options available, however, and these 7 amazing pig farms offer alternatives that are better for the environment, for our sense of morality, and most of all for the pigs themselves.
Kibbutz Lahav, Israel
Is this kosher? Not really, but it IS legal: Kibbutz Lahav is Israel’s only officially authorized pig farm. The kibbutz itself was established in 1952 but the pig farming facilities were built to comply with a 1963 law that allowed pigs to be legally raised in kibbutzim for research purposes only though meat from surplus animals can be sold to end users elsewhere. As such, Kibbutz Lahav is comprised of the Institute for Animal Research along with an on-site processing plant that prepares pork products for sale to stores, hotels and other buyers.
(image via: Mine Action Information Center)
Animal trainer Giva Zin works out of Kibbutz Lahav as a matter of convenience: he trains pigs to find buried landmines and Kibbutz Lahav provides both the pigs and an acceptable place to keep them. Zin states it takes a pig half the time to train compared to a dog, and since rooting is what pigs do naturally they’re the ideal creature for the job. “There’s no doubt. Look at their noses! God designed them to go into the field and find mines.” explains Giva. “We’re training them, not for food, but to save lives.”
Wim Delvoye’s Beijing “Art Farm”
(images via: Life in the Fast Lane)
Belgian artist Wim Delvoye is a vegetarian who operates “Art Farm”, a pig farm near Beijing, China. Nothing unusual there – Delvoye doesn’t eat the pigs, he decorates them. Commanding up to 1 million yuan (about $150,000) per “work”, Delvoye tattoos his pigs to order with the prepared skins going to the purchasers after the full-grown pigs are slaughtered.
Pig Paradise Farm, England
Tony York at Pig Paradise Farm in Eccleshall, Staffordshire, the UK raises pigs not so much for their meat but for what’s on the outside, such as his astonishingly shaggy, curly-coated Mangalitza pigs.
(image via: Blackberry Farm)
The superficially sheep-like Mangalitza porkers are one of nine rare and heirloom breeds kept at Pig Paradise Farm, and are the first curly-coated pig population to exist in the UK since the heirloom Lincolnshire Curly Coat pig went extinct in 1972. Pig Paradise Farm is a popular day-tip destination for families and children who enjoy interacting with the farm’s unusual pigs and learning a little history in the bargain.
Diving Pigs, Hunan, China
Chinese farmer Huang Demin, like many of his neighbors, raises pigs for China’s growing pork products industry but he’s chosen an unusual way to go about it. Huang modified his Hunan province farm to be more pig-friendly… if you take the concept in a free range, boot camp way. Huang’s pigs not only get plenty of exercise the traditional way, they’re encouraged to dive into an on-site pond up to 3 times a day.
(image via: China Daily)
The pigs are led along a twisting wooden walkway that takes them to a makeshift “diving board” 3 meters (about 10 feet) above the deepest part of the pond. Sort of like walking the plank, pirate style! Huang’s not just doing this for his (and the pigs’) amusement, he’s found the meat of his diving swine taste better and bring him 3 times the going rate when auctioned at the local meat market.