ACCORDING to figures released by Spain’s environment ministry, the country’s pigs outnumber its human population for the first time.
There are now 50 million pigs, an increase of around 9 million since 2013, while the number for people stands at 46.5 million.
Moreover, there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of a farming industry that produced more than 4 million tons of pork products and generated €6 billion last year.
Livestock is the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions after transport, electricity generation and industry, and the soaring pig population is a key factor.
In a country like Spain which is frequently affected by drought, pig farming consumes huge quantities of water.
With each pig drinking 15 litres a day, the industry uses more water than the cities of Sevilla, Alicante and Zaragoza combined.
Environmentalists also say that nitrates from the animals’ waste products are beginning to contaminate groundwater.
But with Spaniards consuming around 21 kilos of pork each year and the nation’s love of the meat dating back thousands of years, environmentalists face an uphill battle to bring about change.