SPAIN

Spanish Pork: Much more than meat

Pork

Far from being a sector stuck in the past, the Spanish pig sector is a modern, technologically advanced and highly digitalized sector. A world leader and an international example of good practices and excellence in production.

Posted on Mar 05 ,00:30

Spanish Pork: Much more than meat

A status that it has achieved by working firmly with very solid principles such as its respect for the environment, its determined commitment to animal welfare, the constant search to improve the nutritional quality of its products and the opportunities it provides to social groups such as women or young people who undertake family livestock projects.

One of the most positive aspects of these results is that they have come after the pork sector's commitment to becoming a modern sector that makes large investments to quickly implement any technological innovation, mainly those that contribute to improving environmental variables.

Thanks to these investments, although between 1990 and 2021 the pig census grew by 192% and meat production by 160%, the sector's GHG emissions only grew by 9.5%.

This is possible because emissions have gone from 409 kilos of Co2 per head to only 233.34. Almost half.

The enormous effort deployed to minimize its environmental impact is also evident if we take into account that its emissions are 25.5% of the total emissions from livestock farming, while the specific weight of pig production represents 40.7% of the Final Livestock Production of Spain.

This result is the sum of significant decreases in all variables, such as ammonia emissions (-35% in the last 30 years), water consumption for each kilo of meat produced (-30% in the last 30 years), use of antibiotics (-47% between 2020 and 2022), energy footprint, fertilizers...

However, the challenge set is to achieve 'Net Zero Emissions' in the 2030/2050 horizon. An increasingly closer goal.

On the other hand, we cannot forget a hallmark of swine professionals, animal welfare. Pig farmers have always taken care of their animals. Not only because they live with them, but because their own future and that of their families depends on their well-being.

In recent years, the best proof of this desire to protect and guarantee animal welfare has been the creation in 2019 of the INTERPORC Animal Welfare Spain (IAWS) certification and Technical Regulations.

This certification is translated to the consumer into the voluntary seal 'B+ Animal Welfare Commitment', which endorses good practices in animal welfare, food safety, animal management, health and biosafety, and not only includes Spanish and European regulations, but also It's even more demanding. This has placed Spain at the global forefront in animal welfare in pigs.

Consumers now have animal welfare certified meat within their reach since large retailers have supported and accepted the seal, and 163 operators and more than 7,700 farms have been certified, exceeding the audits carried out by specialized companies external to the sector.

Pork products are the main source of meat protein for Spanish consumers (more than 42%). A fact that is especially relevant given the high quality of this meat, which provides proteins of high biological value, essential amino acids, minerals (phosphorus, zinc, selenium and iron), or vitamins as important as those of group B. Parameters that continue to improve thanks to investment in R&D in the sector.

Consumed in moderation and in the context of a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean, they contribute to good cardiovascular health. Furthermore, its nutritional value and digestibility are ideal for all ages, including population groups such as children, the elderly, athletes and women, mainly during pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

For everything mentioned above, pork is a sector that offers many incentives for young people and that concepts such as generational change or family farming remain in force. Of course, in a very different way from the one that some continue to mistakenly associate with it.

Working on a modern farm or in a pig industry means working in an advanced technological and digital environment. In a world-leading sector in productive and business excellence that demands, mainly in an environment closely linked to nature, professionals specialized in new technologies, advanced genetics, biosafety, logistics, digitalization, internationalization, marketing...

An offer that meets all the expectations demanded by young people seeking professional development that guarantees a future in a modern, innovative sector with attractive challenges in this area.

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