Federal government pledges for pork research

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 14th December 2010

Australia’s pork industry has welcomed the announcement by Federal Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, that the Pork Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has been funded for a further eight years.

Pork CRC Chairman, Dr John Keniry, said the Australian pork industry had to maintain local production of high quality food at a reasonable price and an acceptable return on production capital invested, while improving pig welfare, the environment and consumer health.

The Pork CRC’s bid for funding was based on four major premises, namely the development of confinement-free sow and piglet management, new-generation health management and antibiotic reduction techniques, healthy pork consumption and carbon-conscious inputs and outputs.

Among the goals set by the CRC are the elimination of confinement stalls or crates, reduction of the use of medications and emissions of less than 1 kg of CO2 per kg of pork produced. The CRC will also focus on consumer health and contributing to Australia’s food security.

According to Dr Keniry, delivering these outcomes will differentiate Australian pork as a ‘high integrity’ meat that is welfare-optimal, premium quality, safe and nutritious.

“The Pork CRC will help ensure Australian pork is produced conserving energy and water resources, minimising greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining efficiency and cost of production at a level that promotes investment, growth and sustainability,” he said.

The Australian pork industry, which recently agreed to phase out the use of farrowing crates or sow stalls for pregnant pigs over the next three years, has an annual farm-gate value of $1 billion, contributes $3 billion annually to the national economy and employs around 8000 people.