Hog Wild! Climate change to make pigs skinnier (busted)

From the National Post and the “climate change, is there anything it can’t do?” department comes this porkie:

Climate change is making pigs skinnier, which could mean more expensive pork

A new report claims higher temperatures mean hogs produce less protein, which could result in pricier pork

Pork is the most widely consumed animal protein in the world. Representing more than 36 per cent of global meat-eating, a hit to production could have devastating effects. As a new Scientific American report suggests, a warming planet may result in skinnier pigs that produce less meat. The potential outcome: a future where pork is scarce and strips of bacon will cost you dearly.

The National Pork Board in the U.S. has been monitoring the effect of high temperatures on pigs since 2013, according to Scientific American, due to the possible consequences for a US$20 billion industry.

Swine are particularly vulnerable to hot weather: they wallow in cool mud or water because their sweat glands don’t effectively regulate body temperature. Studies have shown that when the animals are exposed to temperatures in excess of 25 degrees Celsius, they produce less protein, with the added drawback of decreased fertility.

“And the impact is not limited to one generation — if a pregnant sow suffers heat stress, she will birth fewer babies, which will grow slower, store less protein and have fewer and lower-quality eggs and sperm compared with pigs born to mothers raised at cooler temperatures,” Scientific American reports.

Previous studies have identified climate change as a threat to livestock in general as rising temperatures affect feed quality, availability of water and biodiversity. By 2050, worldwide demand for livestock products is anticipated to double, according to a 2017 study by Michigan State University.

Caught in a vicious meaty circle, climate change will influence livestock production and thus food security. And the fallout of animal farming – deforestation and feed production – in turn contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Agricultural scientists say pork could get more expensive in a warmer and more humid world because raising pigs will require more food, energy, water and labour to meet the protein requirements of a growing human population,” Scientific American reports, adding that cooling technologies and a return to indigenous breeds may help mitigate the threat to the industry.

Source: https://nationalpost.com/life/food/climate-change-is-making-pigs-skinnier-which-could-mean-more-expensive-pork

Meanwhile, in the real world, as the Earth warms over the last 50 years…. we see this:

Source: Our World in Data

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
September 26, 2018 12:47 pm

So, my question: “Is a skinny pig replacing the starving polar bear as the iconic image of climate doom?”

A related question: “What’s the global average weight of a pig? “

Ian Magness
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 1:12 pm

Re the average weight, Karl and chums at NOAA had a crackling at this a couple of years back when they produced their ERBMIv5 (extended reconstructed bacon mass index version 5). It was later published by the IPCC (International Porcine Calorie Council) but many thought they had painted a wurst case scenario.
Don’t worry, that’s all folks.

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 26, 2018 1:32 pm

The creation of ERBMIv5 would certainly be a proud day in science. I’m not saying what KIND of science.

Curious George
Reply to  Ian Magness
September 26, 2018 2:42 pm

Thanks, you’ve made my day.

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 26, 2018 3:37 pm

LOL….Ian, made my day!

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 26, 2018 10:00 pm

A world that allows those puns to exist deserves to fry

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 27, 2018 7:59 pm

The size of pigs millennia ago can be determined by examining the amount of fossilized truffles. Probably. Maybe. Who knows.

Anyway, it’s worth a well funded study.

Either that, or the isotopic measurements of bones among populations known to eat pigs.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 1:14 pm

African or European pig?

[The mods refuse to swallow your bait. No matter how fast either flies. .mod]

Reply to  MattS
September 26, 2018 1:29 pm

Matt S and the long suffering Mods are both right. Ahhhhhhh!!!!! {launched off the bridge}

John Tillman
Reply to  MattS
September 26, 2018 8:25 pm


The African giant forest hog was first described by British Great War soldier and ornithologist Richard_Meinertzhagen (nephew of Beatrice Webb), made famous in the movie of Oz, “The Lighthorsemen”:


Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 1:44 pm

Skinny pig = more meat less fat, good on climate change (another+), bad for pigs.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  vukcevic
September 26, 2018 2:09 pm

Vuk, if I had a pig that was as obese as the one in the fist pic I’d be checking with my Vet real quick.

Dave Dodd
Reply to  Pop Piasa
September 26, 2018 11:04 pm

I’d be checking with my butcher! I smell bacon!

Reply to  Dave Dodd
September 27, 2018 3:51 am

NAH, …… ya raise fat hogs for “lard” ……. and ya raise lean hogs for “bacon”.

The Tamworth is …… the ‘Bacon Pig’

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 27, 2018 8:42 am

European pig or African pig?


Reply to  Robert Kernodle
October 3, 2018 1:06 pm

Here’s a comment: Climate change affecting pork yields from pigs are about as related as vaccines and autism

Ian Magness
September 26, 2018 12:48 pm

Thanks for this article, and especially those photographs – gave me the best laugh of the day!
I wonder if that slimming effect is working on Big Al as global temperatures continue to boar, I mean soar?
Before and after photos for him would be instructive too.

Reply to  Ian Magness
September 26, 2018 8:19 pm

But Algorebull is the biggest bore on the planet, you see, so it’s all relative.

September 26, 2018 12:52 pm

comment image

Reply to  ossqss
September 26, 2018 1:02 pm

Awe man , the HTTPS image didn’t come through…. Too big?

Reply to  ossqss
September 26, 2018 1:06 pm

It seems WordPress prefers “http” instead of “https”.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  ossqss
September 26, 2018 1:18 pm

The new “old” comment system reversion isn’t allowing them to be displayed. None of them. Regardless of source, https, or size.
Yeah, this new-old comment system bites the Big Phallōta.

September 26, 2018 12:53 pm

Back on the old farm in Texas where I come from, there are many
marauding feral hogs. They get really big and Texas is still hot.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Alvin Warwas
September 26, 2018 1:07 pm

They referenced using indeginous breeds as a response to warming. I would dearly love to see a pig farmer raise marauding feral hogs!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Dave Fair
September 26, 2018 2:13 pm

Razorbacks are some of the consarndest critters you ever met. Safer to jump in the river with the Gators, I recon.

JJM Gommers
September 26, 2018 12:53 pm

The picture before and after is brilliant, so hilarious.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  JJM Gommers
September 26, 2018 1:11 pm

Yeah but what does Hillary have to do with this?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
September 26, 2018 3:32 pm


September 26, 2018 12:55 pm

If the price of pork goes up, less will be purchased and consumed. Fewer pigs, less “fallout of animal farming – deforestation and feed production.”

Problem solved.

September 26, 2018 1:05 pm

Then farmers will move %north or higher in elevation. *Porklem solved.

%farmers down under try south

September 26, 2018 1:06 pm

What’s the difference between a climate alarmist and a pig? — None, they are both subject to being roasted.

Suggestion: Change the name of the “Greenhouse Theory” to the “Slaughterhouse Theory”, in order to push the comparison between CO2 and lard — CO2 is like a layer of lard that fries humanity.

Sorry, I’m incapable of contributing anything remotely serious on this one.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 1:18 pm

I take my bacon very seriously Robert, and when I do, I prefer lean bacon! 😉

comment image

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 5:09 pm

“Slaughterhouse Theory”? Kurt Vonnegut, call your office. (And yes, I know he’s dead.)

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 9:26 pm

Would of thought Warmistas would welcome skinny pigs. They’re always trying to make them fly.

Walt D.
September 26, 2018 1:10 pm

Global Warming will result in Pigs Flying.
Seems like they forgot the wings on the after pig.

Reply to  Walt D.
September 26, 2018 1:19 pm

Eventually, after the runaway warming, we will have Pigs in Space.

Reply to  coaldust
September 26, 2018 2:12 pm

Hey there! I liked Pigs In Space. Great skit in a great show!

Reply to  OweninGA
September 26, 2018 2:20 pm

Uncle Mort
September 26, 2018 1:17 pm

It’s worse than we thought – the skinnier ones will be harder to catch.

john harmsworth
September 26, 2018 1:23 pm

Is the one on the right Al Gore? ‘Cause he should be on the Left!

Eustace Cranch
September 26, 2018 1:23 pm

So, by that theory, pigs raised in Pennsylvania are going to be skinnier than ones raised in Georgia. That should be pretty easy to measure and confirm.


Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 26, 2018 3:41 pm

..and then there’s the famous swimming pigs in the Bahamas

comment image

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
September 27, 2018 3:52 am

Oops, I just realized I meant the other way around. Georgia has the skinny pigs.

September 26, 2018 1:29 pm

Fortunately, as the Rutgers study summarized on WUWT earlier today shows, the eastern 2/3 of the US, where nearly all pigs are raised, has been cooler of late.

Walt D.
September 26, 2018 1:31 pm

New picture request.

Climate Change Scientists

With funding. Without Funding.

(Same Pigs)

Reply to  Walt D.
September 26, 2018 1:36 pm

Nice. (^_^)

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Walt D.
September 26, 2018 3:36 pm

💲🐷💲 ==> ⚠🐖⚠
That’s the best I could do with the resources available.

[The mods do not wonder where the $ signs went. .mod]

September 26, 2018 1:32 pm

“…because raising pigs will require more food, energy, water and labour to meet the protein requirements of a growing human population…”

That ignores the tremendous genetic gains made over the last 2 to 3 decades. Pigs have been selected and bred to increase in growth rate with a herd improvement of about 10 grams/day each year … ie, pigs today grow on average 200 grams/day faster than they did in 1998. (Now about 780 grams/day = 120 kg liveweight at 20 weeks of age). With that comes improved efficiency. as they are also selected and bred for improved feed efficiency: the kgs of feed needed for 1 kg of growth. That has improved from 2.8 kg of feed per kg of gain to 2.3. Further gains come from improved reproductive efficiency.

When I first heard of these ‘year on year’ genetic gains in the 1990s I thought to myself, “Well, that can’t go on forever”.
But it has and is recently further accelerating with the advent of affordable genetic testing, enabling the use of gene markers to accurately select for the required traits.

Gains in poultry and cattle and sheep have been similarly spectacular, and that too will continue and accelerate further.

There may be a ceiling there somewhere, but we can’t see it yet.

(Incidentally, the weight chart shown in the article reflects the improved growth rates, but more so the tendency to slaughter at heavier weights due to that improved growth rate).

[The mods wonder if that indicates we need a Moore’s Law for Pigs. Or just One Moore’s Pig Law? But then would be two Moore’s Laws – which is one more than one Moore’s Law. .mod]

Bruce Cobb
September 26, 2018 2:04 pm

Climate Science is getting cloudier all the time. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to take them cirrusly.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
September 26, 2018 2:19 pm

… bad, and yet good. (^_^)

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
September 26, 2018 2:29 pm

I rate that one higher than Bastardi’s comment that a Napoleon storm is one that gets “Blonaparte”.

Pop Piasa
September 26, 2018 2:20 pm

Here’s what pigs looked like before Al Gore was an alarmist.

John M
September 26, 2018 2:21 pm

A sign of the anthroporcine epoch?

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 26, 2018 2:22 pm

Surely all this proves is that thanks to global warming the now thinner pigs will also become denser and therefore tougher to eat. Dentists everywhere should rejoice.
Will this apply to other animals? I feel we should be told.

September 26, 2018 2:30 pm

“Swine are particularly vulnerable to hot weather:”

Geez, the pigs I saw in the South East Pacific and Thailand, where it is like really hot and humid, have never heard of this. And the pigs were doing exceptionally fine there. That they are particularly vulnerable to hot weather I don’t dispute…I was having a whale of time getting by too. As long as they have mud to wallow in, and have a proper diet and clean water, they seem to just thrive whatever the temperature is. And global warming is not accelerating temps at the equator anyway, it is just hot there all the time and pork is their principal meat market. Don’t tell the pigs this, or they will be wanting A/C.

Patrick Fine
September 26, 2018 2:48 pm

Maybe this is a little off topic but, it has to do with PIG/Humans.

September 26, 2018 3:16 pm

USA’s overweight problem just solved by global warming! Everything is awesome! /SARC

September 26, 2018 3:22 pm

This news is a blow to all Muslims who had hoped that Global Warming would eventually eliminate all pigs by atrophy, (and all dogs too)! This is a swine of a blow to their hopes.

September 26, 2018 3:31 pm

Don’t tell the feral pigs where I live in Queensland Australia. I live next to a National Park, in the Tropics. Every 1 to 2 years they bring in shooters to cut the numbers.

September 26, 2018 4:40 pm

Scientific American. ‘Nuff said.

Geoff Sherrington
September 26, 2018 4:42 pm

Pigs and mathematics go back years.
About 1970 there was a research paper claiming that the optimum economic feed weight for raising pigs was proporktional to A to the power of 0.8, where A is the weight of food chosen by pigs from an unlimited supply.
Looking at a cross section of late teenage girls of today, I hope they are still learning mathematics so they can figure this. You reap what, you sows? Geoff

September 26, 2018 6:01 pm

Pork, thanks to Global Warming, soon the other lean meat!

September 26, 2018 6:05 pm

I get the idea these researchers don’t have any clue about pigs.

They chose a global animal used for food and bollixed up their “less protein” fakery.


” At present, the (really) assumed potential of fecundity is 15.0 piglets born alive, 2.4 litters/year, <10 % losses and 32.5 piglets per sow/year (compared to current data of 11.1, 2.26, 13.8 and 21.5, respectively)"

A problem with pigs is keeping that fecundity under control. A lot of semi-tropical areas have serious feral pig problems.

Well, at least the sow fecundity study was worth the funds spent, unlike the climate alarm fear mongering.

michael hart
September 26, 2018 6:17 pm

Climate change has already made the pig’s trough bigger. It is now swamp-sized.

September 26, 2018 6:21 pm

Does that mean that pigs can go into modelling?

Would that be healthy for their self image?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  simple-touriste
September 26, 2018 6:34 pm

Already been done-

comment image

September 27, 2018 2:19 am

Ukranians will be devastated in a world of skinny pigs..


However I don’t think they need worry.
Outback Oz gets a lot hotter than 25 degrees and porkers seem to do quite nicely there.

Reply to  GregK
September 27, 2018 2:21 am

That’s Ukrainians

September 27, 2018 4:51 am

Will pigs replace Stevenson Screens? Do they have to be whitewashed regularly? And weighed twice a day to get an average?

September 27, 2018 5:24 am

Just as farming can move to cooler environments if local temps increase, ranchers can do the same thing. In fact it is probably easier for a pig farmer to move his operation than it is for a corn farmer.

And I know it is anecdotal evidence, but I have seen more and larger feral pigs in the southern US than in the northern US.

Reply to  ddpalmer
September 27, 2018 8:52 am

I don’t think there are any feral pigs in the northern US (yet).

Reply to  beng135
September 27, 2018 9:19 am

They are even in the Upper Peninsula. It doesn’t get much northerlier than that outside Alaska:

comment image

Reply to  tty
September 28, 2018 6:52 am

tty, like Johnny Carson said “I did not know that”. Unfortunate as they are notoriously destructive to the forest ground. Maybe the coyotes spreading everywhere will challenge them — hunting is so un-PC anymore that people won’t do anything about ’em….

Reply to  beng135
September 28, 2018 9:20 am

“Unfortunate as they are notoriously destructive to the forest ground. ”

Not really. It doesn’t look pretty, but actually the disturbance is good for forest regrowth, at least in Europe.

And I am afraid the coyote are too smart to try and take them on. Too risky. And the pigs are pretty smart animals too, and difficult to hunt, though the meat is excellent (except for old males, which are inedible).
As an acquaintance who was researching wild boars put it: “the difference in average IQ between pigs and hunters is too small”.

Reply to  beng135
September 27, 2018 9:35 am


I don’t think there are any feral pigs in the northern US (yet).

Many, many tens of thousands of feral pigs are out there. Literally, I ran into one in mid-FL (north of the everglades, on a country road) whose shoulder was higher than the hood of the rental car. 250+ lbs.

September 27, 2018 7:39 am

Actually pigs are among the most eurytopic of animals. They avoid glaciers, tundra and extreme desert but do well almost everywhere else. For example on the Gangetic plain in India with summer temperatures regularly >50 C. As well as southern Iraq, northern Australia and southern Arizona to take a few other areas not exactly noted for cool climate.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
September 27, 2018 8:15 am


Looking your real-world graph of pig meat yields, it sure seems that meat yield per pig correlates with per-capita CO2 emissions. Funny that.

September 27, 2018 8:42 am

Limbo for Scientific American — how low can you go?

Reply to  beng135
September 27, 2018 2:18 pm

Climate change made journalist brains skinnier and titles sillier

Gary Pearse
September 28, 2018 2:58 pm

When I worked in Nigeria in the mid 1960s there was a Danish tech aid agricultural school at Vom, near Jos in central northern Nigeria that sold their very fine farm products cheaply at a farm store. The pigs they raised were enormous (5-6deg N latitude). The bacon was the best I’ve ever eaten and they sold milk from their dairy and beautiful grapefruit. I joined the Jos horticultural club (largely British) . Members even grew apples and other exotics(!). I say BS on the pigs getting smaller. BTW, I raised my big family on a farm and 4a8sed, am9ng other things, fine pigs in temperatures from -20C to 35C. Do they consult people who know anything or is this all linear, a priori, how-hard-can-it-be thinking.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights