Frequently Asked Questions
Meaningful change takes time, careful planning and a strong commitment from farmers, and our partners across the supply chain. It balances aspiration with ability, relying on research and reason over reaction and gut feeling.
We go whole hog when it comes to making things better for our animals, farms and people. Ontario Pork’s social responsibility commitments serve as a roadmap for change. Want to know more about what matters most to us?
How are pigs raised in Ontario?
Most pigs in Ontario are raised in climate-controlled barns, where they are protected from predators and disease, and have plenty of food and water. Farmers follow national standards when it comes to how animals are housed, what they eat and how they are cared for. There are many different approaches to pig farming, but the goal is always to raise healthy animals and, ultimately, a high-quality product for your dinner plate.
High standards of animal care help grow healthier pigs and produce a better product in the long run. We’re constantly working with experts to find new, better ways to raise pigs – from university research into better feed, care and genetics to innovation and technology in our own barns – because a healthy herd benefits everyone.
Need the proof?
- Better health, housing, feed and care means that sows develop healthier piglets – we’ve seen a 47% increase in piglets born per litter since 1980.
- Pork farmers participate in the Canadian Pork Excellence PigCARE, PigSAFE and PigTRACE programs and are inspected by trained third-party veterinarians regularly to ensure they are meeting the high standards of animal care. That includes rules about housing, care, movement and socialization all designed to keep pigs healthy.
Are there hormones or antibiotics in my pork?
No. Growth hormones aren’t used in pigs raised in Canada.
We feed your family the same pork we’re proud to feed to our own. Ontario pork farmers work closely with veterinarians when antibiotics are needed. If you’ve ever needed antibiotics, you know that they are an important tool to fight infection and disease. We want our animals to be healthy and happy. Using them wisely is important for both human and animal health. Farmers know that.
We follow very strict withdrawal periods to ensure there are no antibiotics in pork by the time it reaches your plate. Because we want healthy, safe and nutritious protein, too.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency and provincial inspectors at processing plants rigorously test meat to ensure that pork is safe to eat.
Are pigs raised in ‘factory farms’ in Ontario?
No. Almost all pig farms in Ontario are family businesses, whether they support one family, several generations of the same family, or the families of others who work on the farm.
See the Murray family farm and the Van Raay family farm.
Just like you wouldn’t expect a hospital or business to operate the same way it did 100 years ago, most farms have updated their practices, technology and equipment to improve their workflow, animal care and results. This allows a shrinking number of farmers to deliver a sustainable food supply.
All farmers are expected to meet animal care standards set in Canada’s Pig Code, whether they operate traditional pig barns, outdoor or organic herds, small hobby operations, or raise heritage breeds of pigs.
Is raising pigs environmentally sustainable?
Reducing our environmental footprint today means our farms will be here for generations to come. Clean water and healthy soil are key to the long-term success of all farmers. Without a healthy environment, we wouldn’t be in business. It is in our best interest to be sustainable and treat the environment with the respect it deserves (and it’s just the right thing to do).
It is also a good sustainable practice to source and eat locally-grown food because it doesn’t need to travel as far to your plate. Further benefitting the local economy. Just like fresh, Ontario-raised pork.
- Improved nutrition means less land and water is needed to grow food. Canadian pork farms have seen a 43% improvement in feed conversion (the amount of feed needed to create a set amount of growth) since 1951.
- A hectare of farmland that fed 6 hogs in 1981 now creates enough feed to grow 20 hogs.
- More than half of Ontario pork farmers say they have found ways to reduce water use on farms — and more than 75% have made environmental improvements including planting trees, using sustainable energy sources and protecting waterways.
What does social responsibility mean?
Successful Farming Operations
From one generation to the next, farmers are committed to putting the well-being of people and animals first, while building successful, safe, sustainable operations by investing in people, research and innovation.
Healthy Animals and Safe Food
Ontario’s hog farmers are committed to internationally recognized high standards of animal care and farming, based on science, education and animal husbandry best practices, because a healthy herd benefits all.
A Sustainable Environment
Farmers are environmental leaders, actively working to improve the environment. Clean water and healthy soil are key to the long-term success of individual farmers and the industry.
Strong Communities and People
Farmers help build strong communities, by providing jobs, opportunities for youth, civic leadership and food bank support. Community outreach helps ensure that Ontarians stay connected to where their food is grown.