Farming Thinking

The Pig Idea

5th June 2013

The Pig Idea is a campaign to lift the ban on feeding livestock legally permissible food by-products. To coincide with World Environment Day, the campaign kicks off today with the aim of demonstrating that feeding food waste to pigs makes perfect environmental, economic and social sense.

For thousands of years, pigs have been mankind’s perfect partner: they consume leftover food we no longer want and convert it back into something we do. Pork.

However, following the foot and mouth epidemic a Europe wide ban on feeding livestock catering or domestic waste (food from any time of kitchen) was introduced in 2002. This has led to a system where instead of recycling our food waste to fatten up our livestock, we actually feed them food perfectly fit for human consumption such as wheat, soy and maize. Incredibly, 97 percent of global soy production is used for animal feed and Europe now imports 40 million tonnes of soymeal a year from Latin America. Its agressive cultivation has caused widespread deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of valuable wildlife habitat.

Not only does this have worrying environmental implications, it’s pushed up food prices significantly – for both for us and the pigs.

The first stage of the campaign will see 8 pigs being reared at Stepney City Farm, being fed on a healthy diet based on (legally permissible food waste donated by local food businesses. We can then look forward to a large public feast in Trafalgar Square where the pork will be served with other meals made from food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Head over to for more info.

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