Can Pig Waste Be Eco-Friendly?

January 28, 2011 ( – Can dealing with pig waste be friendly to the environment?

The Taiwan government seems to think so because it is encouraging its pig farmers to train their pigs to use a specially made “toilet.” The advantages according to proponents: a higher quality of manure to sell and help curbing the problems of pollution, smell and excessive water used for cleanup, Reuters reported. The government is even offering willing pig farmers cash to be involved in the efforts to manage pig waste.

“To use the pig waste as manure is a very good approach within the spirit of green energy, much better than just letting it go to waste and pollute river water,” Stephen Shen, Taiwan’s environment minister, told Reuters Television.”And I think that can help us a lot in decreasing CO2 emissions and fighting global warming.”

The “toilet” consists of a series of iron bars installed above the floor in the corner of the pen. Pigs step between the bars to go about their business, with the waste collected in a single, easy to clean spot, Reuters explained.  If all the around six million pigs in Taiwan used such toilets, the government estimates the approximately 180 million liters of water used per day in cleaning would fall by half, the news report said.

Fewer Pig Colds  

Chang Chung-Tou, general manager of Long Kow Foods Enterprise, a pig farm with toilets in the western Taiwan county of Yunlin, told Reuters that not only does he get more for his manure, but his potty-trained porkers live longer. “Because we don’t need to flush the whole cage with water, the pigs are also less likely to catch colds. That helped us to raise the survival rate of our pigs from 70 to 90%,” Chang said.

For those enterprising farmers with finicky pigs who don’t get the idea, the government has even offered three potty-training tips:

  • Put some fe.ces in the cage as pigs will follow the smell;
  • Clean the rest of the pen so “the pigs are not misled to def.ecate outside the toilet”;
  • Let the pigs “become familiar with the new environment.”