More than 20 years ago pigs were out in the open but after some harsh winters and storms experts came up with the idea to put a roof over them. Once a roof was built, they decided walls would be a good idea and pigs became hidden from the public. While the intentions were pure, hiding the pigs from the public became a negative for the industry.
“People need to see that the pigs are well taken care of,” says Malcom S. De Kryger, vice president of Belstra Milling Co. at a World Pork Expo press conference.
Various animal rights groups have posted grainy videos of rough treatment to outright abuse of animals on YouTube. A few months ago, a video from Countryside made the rounds on several national news outlets giving the industry a collective black eye.
“We wanted to show that we’re not beating our animals – that’s repulsive to us,” says De Kryger.
To document to the public what really happens in a farrowing house and breeding barn in stalls, the company launched www.realpigfarm.com, a live video stream that films 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Four foot-by-four foot windows also were installed in several buildings so people can look in and see the pigs.
“We don’t take biosecurity lightly, but if people want to see what we do then we’re happy to show them,” he says. Belestra also offers tours and has about 200 visitors per year.