Kate Morgan - High welfare systems - Can they meet world food demand?
I am 29 years old and live in the small town of Driffield in East Yorkshire. I am a Director of our family pig farm which has 1700 breeding sows and takes the progeny to slaughter, selling to Sainsbury’s via Cranswick. The whole family is involved in the business, my Mother and Father and also my two older sisters.
I studied at Newcastle University and graduated in 2003 with a 2:1 joint hons in Agri Business Management. After University I worked in marketing but this was not for me! So I decided to do a ski season and then continued to spend a year travelling round the World. I have many hobbies, ranging from Eventing my two horses to playing hockey and running.
Well what a few days! I have visited Mr Fan in Tianjin, only 150km outside of Beijing, he is working in co operation with JSR and is currently building a unit for 600 pigs with the idea of expanding and becoming a multiplication unit for them. Mr Fan approached people wanting to get British genetics and was then put in touch with JSR and the relationship has grown from there. The unit is asking shape however still a way off finishing, he is hoping to have pigs in by May. The unit is very very focused on bio security and from the outside it really does look like a hotel! Gates and fences to stop people getting in! He showed me round, all the buildings are up but the equipment inside is yet to be put in, it was quite hard to understand how it was going to look, I can't help but think they focus so much on bio security and not enough on the actual systems but this may have been lost in translation! There is a living quarters in the farm for the 40 staff who will work there! Mr Fan said that it was like a prison working on a pig farm, no one is allowed to leave all because of bio security which is crazy! I asked what the 40 people will do and basically I think they will be mucking out nearly all the time, there is no slurry channels so its down to people to scrap the muck as it happens, very hard to get your head round! After Mr Fan had showed us round we went for lunch, and what a lunch! I don't think I have every had so much food, mostly seafood which they only have on special occasions! Not quite sure who he thinks I am! But it was very nice and I didn't ask too many questions as to what I was eating!! I also got to experience the rice wine and what an experience!! Hopefully I won't have to do that much more especially at lunch time!
after lunch we went to a slaughter farm, I'm not sure if trading standards would be too happy but it really was an eye opener! Just the way the pigs were delivered made me giggle, I have seen pictures but never really believed it! They have many things that make sense like keeping the pigs for 6 hours till they kill them but I'm not sure the conditions would help the level of stress in the pigs but good idea! I think it was lucky for me that they only kill at night and so we walked the line whilst it was 'clean' and no pigs but I got enough of an idea. They kill at night so that the customer can collect at about 3am so they have fresh meat to sell the next day! It seems strange that they are so worried about bio security on the farms yet people were free to come and go at the slaughter farm, food safety is said to be growing in importance but I feel it may be the same as them mentioning welfare!