Most of the pigs – almost half of the total livestock – live in China, followed by the United States and Brazil. For Europe Spain and Germany are taking the lead, Nigeria on place 22 is the first African country in this ranking. Disappearing on this map are all Islamic countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa where pigs are considered ‘unclean’ and pork meat is not consumed for religious reasons.
Due to an increase in global demand for meat the total numbers are constantly rising, mostly in Asia and Africa, while pig numbers in Europe or North America grow slower or even stagnate. Not just numbers, also the way of pig husbandry has changed, to a very industrialised, meat production centred way of farming. Only few traditional forms of pig husbandry have survived in the industrialised world, such as organic pig farming, mostly linked to local markets.
Not so in the developing countries, where half of the pigs still lives in small-scale subsistence-driven production systems. Here the omnivorous pigs are much more that just a source of meat, they are also a recipient of feed, that otherwise would go to waste.