Switzerland boasts some of the best pork in the world. This is because breeders, farmers and researchers in Switzerland work hand in hand, creating a unique breeding system.
FAMILY FARMS INSTEAD OF FACTORY FARMING
Farming in Switzerland takes place within comparatively small dimensions. Small-scale family businesses also account for most of the country’s pig farming, for example. There are farmers for whom pig farming represents one of several forms of production, as well as farms that have specialised in pig farming. The different types of farms in the country include those specialised in breeding, those specialised in fattening and those focused on both.
SMALL BUT EFFECTIVE
The size of the farms and the maximum number of animals per farm are regulated by law and err on the small side compared with other countries. The average Swiss pig fattening farm has around 220 animals, whereas this number might reach 4,000 outside of Switzerland.
VOLUNTARY ANIMAL WELFARE PROGRAMMES
In addition, around 66% of Swiss pigs are kept in line with the conditions set out in the BTS programme, which aims to ensure particularly animal-friendly housing systems. Under this programme, animal housing needs to be divided into areas for lying down, moving and eating. These areas ensure that the animals can move around and independently decide when to rest and eat.
BREEDING FOCUSED ON QUALITY
Swiss pig breeding is designed to produce healthy animals and therefore outstanding meat quality. For these reasons, breeders breed their animals with three objectives in mind:
Sows should be robust, fertile and long-living.
Fattening pigs should be healthy and fast-growing.
The meat should be of outstanding quality – perfectly suitable for fresh meat and meat products.
THE MOST IMPORTANT BREEDS
SWISS EDELSCHWEIN (LARGE WHITE)
The Swiss Edelschwein is Switzerland’s main pig breed, and was derived from the English Yorkshire breed in the first half of the 20th century. Since 2002, the Swiss Edelschwein has been bred as the typical dam line with outstanding reproductive characteristics.
SWISS EDELSCHWEIN (SIRE LINE)
These pigs perform excellently in all areas: outstanding meat and fat quality, an optimal proportion of intramuscular fat, and low drip losses.
SWISS LANDRASSE (LANDRACE)
The Swiss Landrasse has been bred for over 100 years. Unlike the Swiss Edelschwein, the main objective with this breed is to produce fertile, long-living sows suitable for further breeding. The Swiss Landrasse is the second most important pig breed in Switzerland.
The reddish-brown Duroc pigs are originally from the USA and arrived in Switzerland via Denmark. They produce high-quality, well-marbled meat.
TRANSPARENCY EQUALS CERTAINTY AND TRUST
Switzerland has a stringent animal transport screening system. Thanks to the traceability of pork, which is prescribed by law, it is possible to see when the pigs were slaughtered and which farms they came from at any time. Together with Swiss animal welfare law, traceability is a key measure for quality production.