Taiwan’s 6.5 million pigs pollute the country’s rivers and require an excessive amount of water to maintain. But after testing a new pig farming practice, Taiwan’s government believes they have a solution: potty train the porkers. The government is encouraging farmers to install pig “litter boxes” after several breeders reduced water usage and environmental problems with the method. It works so well that the government is offering financial aid to farmers who implement the system.
The “litter box” consists of a metal grate installed in the center of a pig pen, creating a single, easy-to-clean spot for pigs to do their business. The fecal matter is then sucked out with a special vacuum. To potty train the pigs, farmers simply need to put manure in the toilet area and clean the rest of the pen to help pigs become familiar with the new environment.
By having a designated toilet area, farmers only need to clean a small portion of the pen, letting them use much less water. If every pig in Taiwan used a toilet, the country would save 75,000 tons of water each day, halving the amount currently used. Plus, the manure would not be part of the water run-off that currently pollutes Taiwan’s rivers and contributes to CO2 emissions.
For the breeders, the benefits are many. Chang Chung-Tou says that his pigs are healthier and cleaner than ever, and their survival rate increased from 70 to 90 percent. He also has lower energy bills and richer pig manure since it’s not flushed with water, allowing him to sell it to farmers at a higher price. Chung-Tou has increased his profits from manure sales to more than T$250,000 ($8,636) from T$50,000. But more importantly, he no longer violates environmental laws and avoids pollution fines. Taiwan’s government hopes to have all breeders install the grates in the near future.
Could the method come to America next?
WHY THIS MATTERS:
Currently, Taiwan’s pig farming industry uses an exorbitant amount of water and pollutes the country’s rivers. If this new method were to be implemented at every pig farm in the Taiwan, the country could save 75,000 tons of water each day and reduce pollution and excess CO2 emissions.