Strengthening Supply Chain Management
Addressing animal welfare
Amid the rise in ESG investing in Japan, stakeholders have growing concern about animal welfare. Accordingly, in developing our hog farming business, we will observe best practices in countries with high ratings in animal welfare.
Phasing out gestation crates, rolling out mobile farrowing crates
In Japan, pig farmers usually house pregnant sows in traditional gestation crates (also known as sow stalls). From an animal welfare perspective, these crates are problematic because they are around the same length and width of a sow, and thus prevent the sow from even turning around. The EU has banned the use of such crates from four weeks after the start of pregnancy to one week before the time of farrowing (giving birth to piglets). We plan to apply this rule in our pig farms. In fiscal 2021, Nikushitsu Kenkyu Farm, Ltd. dispensed with gestation crates in favor of free-access stalls. Our new farm in Miyagi Prefecture plans to do the same during the second phase of expansion starting in fiscal 2026.
We will also start using mobile farrowing crates to protect sows between the time they farrow and the time their piglets are weaned.
Biosecurity is an important part of animal welfare, as it protects the animals from disease. To minimize the spread of infectious diseases on the farm, the new farm in Miyagi uses separate barns to segregate early-weaning piglets from growing–finishing pigs, and these barns are well-sealed and windowless. It also has disinfection points that trucks pass through before entering the farm site. Additionally, at the distribution center, staff use smoke disinfectant on all articles that the person will bring into the farm. The farm also observes quarantine periods.
Alongside these measures, the farm has installed backup generators to protect pigs from stress during emergencies. We are also considering the installation of an emergency alarm and a failsafe system. If the air conditioning malfunctions, the failsafe system releases the air pressure in the air curtain to ventilate the site.