‘Vampire’ horse farm claims downplayed by pig industry

News that blood from pregnant horses is being injected into other animals to boost meat production “would never be used for pigs destined for meat”, said the National Pig Association (NPA). 

The story was published by The Mirror, referring to the “vampire farms” as a “vile process, carried out cheaply on farms in South America to avoid strict EU welfare regulations”.

The hormone that is injected into the living animals is known as Pregnant Mare’s Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG) and is thought to speed up the natural fertility cycle of animals. While the article recognised that the process is used on sheep and cows, it was singled out as mainly being used on pigs.  

It claimed that meat sold in Britain came from animals that had been given the hormone, although it did acknowledge that it was unclear how widespread this was in the UK.

The NPA stressed that while it understands such concerns, this is not a standard procedure practised on UK pig farms.

“We are aware that a small number of products containing PMSG are authorised for use in pigs in the UK for the induction and synchronisation of oestrus,” said NPA chief executive Zoe Davies.

“However, from extensive enquiries, our understanding is that these products are used very little, if at all, in UK pig production as good management such as boar presence, nutrition and proper lighting means that sows naturally return to oestrus after weaning, which negates the need to use them.

“It is also important to stress that, as an oestrus synchronisation product for breeding pigs, it would never be used in pigs destined for meat,” she confirmed.

“Despite suggestions in media that this is a story about British pigmeat, we want to make it clear that use of the product is by no means standard practice in the UK. The UK pig industry prides itself on the high standards that underpin our pig production.”

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