A 26-storey apartment-style building has been built on the southern outskirts of Ezhou, a city in central China's Hubei province, with the capacity to slaughter 1.2 million pigs per year, as per a report in The Guardian. It is by far the biggest single-building pig farm in the world. The outlet further said that this is done to answer the country's insatiable demand for pork, the most popular animal protein there.
The pig farm has two buildings, according to statements on the company Hubei Zhongxin Kaiwei Modern Farming's official WeChat account. A similar-looking, equal-scale building is nearing completion behind the operational site. When fully operational, they will cover an area of 800,000 square metres and have a capacity of 650,000 animals.
"The 4bn yuan farm has gas, temperature and ventilation-controlled conditions, with animals fed through more than 30,000 automatic feeding spots at the click of a button in a central control room," the report further said.
According to the company, pig waste will be treated and used to generate biogas, which will be used for power generation and heating water on the farm. Workers will have to go through multiple rounds of disinfection and testing before being allowed to enter, and they won't be able to leave until their next break, which is reportedly once a week, The Guardian stated.
A farmer, while speaking to The Guardian, said, "About 30 years ago when I was raising pigs, we would only have two or three in our back yard pigsty. I've heard pigs raised in these farms can be ready for sale in a few months, and back in the day, it would take us about a year to raise one. But I think as technology advances, this will be the trend in the future."
Some experts believe that large-scale intensive farms increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks. "Intensive facilities can reduce interactions between domesticated and wild animals and their diseases, but if a disease does get inside they can break out between animals like wildfire," said Matthew Hayek, an assistant professor in environmental studies at New York University told the outlet.