The Pig Idea

pigs tristramThe Pig Idea campaign encourages the feeding of surplus food that is no longer fit for human consumption, to pigs.

Did you know…

The land needed to grow feed for European pork is as big as Ireland.

Every year an additional area as big as Yorkshire is cleared in Brazil and Argentina alone for soy to feed livestock globally.

The solution

Our campaign aims to encourage the use of food waste to feed pigs. We aim to lift the EU ban on feeding catering waste, or swill, to pigs.

For thousands of years pigs have been mankind’s perfect partner: they consume waste and convert it to food. Following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001, the government introduced a ban on feeding catering waste to pigs. A short-term ban during the crisis may have been justified, but science has shown that cooking leftover food renders it safe for pigs. As a result of Feedback advocacy work, three high impact scientific papers supporting The Pig Idea have been published, read here. We are currently coordinating a scientific paper with experts that will demonstrate animal disease risk management strategies in highly sophisticated industrial waste to feed treatment systems. Within the REFRESH project, Feedback is working to fully understand and mitigate this risk and propose effective risk management within a context of social, economic and environmental risk.


Pig IdeaIn the UK, thousands of British pig farmers have gone out of business largely owing to the soaring prices of animal feed. Currently much of Europe’s livestock feed is soy, grown in South America where rainforest is being cut down at an alarming rate. 97% of global soy production is used for animal feed and Europe now imports 40 million tonnes of soymeal a year. Food prices are rising as pigs are fed the very same wheat, soy and maize that we humans want to eat.

At the heart of The Pig Idea are three major objectives:

1.  Restore public confidence in the practice of feeding surplus food to pigs.

2.  Encourage more use of legally permissible food waste as pig feed – for example, bread, dairy, fruit and vegetables – by raising awareness and understanding of this option among supermarkets, food businesses, Animal Health officials and pig farmers.

3.  Change European law to allow food waste including catering waste to be diverted for use as pig and chicken feed; and to introduce a robust legal framework for its safe processing and use to prevent the outbreak of animal diseases.

In November 2013, Feedback held The Pig Idea Feast in Trafalgar Square. Joined by the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Bruno Loubet, the team served 5,000 dishes using pork from our very own pigs that had been reared on legally permissible food waste. 

pig idea