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Home > Statistics > How Many Pigs Are There in the UK? (2024 Statistics)

How Many Pigs Are There in the UK? (2024 Statistics)

young pigs on the grass

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Pigs are one of the most common animals raised for meat in the world. They are also one of the most versatile animals, able to be raised both indoors and outdoors. Pigs can provide a wide range of food, including pork, ham, bacon, sausage, and liver. They are also used for their leather and bristles, which are used in many products including shoes and clothing. It’s no wonder that pigs are one of the most important agricultural animals in the world—and in the United Kingdom where there are over 5 million pigs. They have also been gaining in popularity as pets in the UK, with a small but loyal population of owners inviting porcine friends—especially miniature varieties—into their homes.

Let’s take a look at some interesting statistics about the UK’s pig population that we found during our research.

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The Top 8 UK Pig Statistics

  1. As of 2022, there are over 5 million pigs in the United Kingdom.
  2. Almost all of the UK’s pigs are in England.
  3. In England, over 90% of all pigs are raised for meat.
  4. The UK has about 1,300 pig farms with more than 1,000 pigs each.
  5. More than 7,000 British farms have fewer than 50 pigs each.
  6. Combined, the Yorkshire and Humber and Eastern regions produce 60% of England’s pigs.
  7. Each person in the UK consumes about 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of pig meat per year.
  8. Every year, 10 million pigs are slaughtered in the UK.
PIGS_IN_THE_UK_FACTS_&_STATISTICS
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Top UK Pig Population Statistics

1. As of 2022, there are over 5 million pigs in the United Kingdom.

[Statistica]

This number is due to the increasing demand for pork products across the United Kingdom and around the world. Pork is a popular meat choice in many countries; however, pig production poses some environmental concerns. With so many pigs living in close quarters, it can create issues with waste disposal and air quality. Additionally, since pigs produce massive amounts of excrement, they can contaminate water supplies with their droppings.

Piglets Can a Sow
Image Credit: Iiphevgeniy, Shutterstock (

2. Almost all of the UK’s pigs are in England.

[Gov.uk]

Over 4.1 million pigs were reared in England in 2022, so English pigs make up the majority of the UK’s pigs. Incredibly, this figure represents a 3% decrease over the previous year. Breeding pig numbers have declined substantially, which is largely responsible for this downward trend, reaching their lowest point in 20 years.


3. In England, over 90% of all pigs are raised for meat.

[Gov.uk]

The number of fattening pigs has been estimated to be almost 3.8 million in 2022, which represents 92% of the total number of pigs. Fattening pigs are pigs that are raised for their meat. They are typically fattened on a diet of grains, beans, and other animal-based products. Pigs can be fattened in a number of ways, including confinement in pens or sheds and feeding high-calorie diets.

pig walking outdoors
Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay

4. The UK has about 1,300 pig farms with more than 1,000 pigs each.

[Institute of Grocery Distribution]

A total of 82% of the UK’s total pig population is represented by the large pig farms in the country. The scale of pig farms in the UK has historically been on the rise for a long time and this trend is expected to continue: for example, Midland Pig Producers presented a proposal in 2011 for the development of a pig farm at Foston that would house 2,500 sows and their offspring.


5. More than 7,000 British farms have fewer than 50 pigs each.

[Institute of Grocery Distribution]

As the number of smaller herds has increased, it has been attributed to an increasing number of what are widely believed to be lifestyle or hobby farms instead of intensive commercial enterprises. Small farms tend to produce more environmentally friendly meat and are better at keeping animals healthy. They also produce more nutritious pork.

man cleaning pig pen
Image Credit: Aleksandar Malivuk, Shutterstock

6. Combined, the Yorkshire and Humber and Eastern regions produce 60% of England’s pigs.

[Institute of Grocery Distribution]

It’s impressive that just two regions account for a major part of England’s total pig production. Production levels vary between the different farms, with some producing large numbers of pigs while others raise only a few. However, despite this diversity, there are common traits in these regions that link all the farms together—good animal husbandry, mature practice, good feed supplies, and good transport links.


7. Each person in the UK consumes about 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of pig meat per year.

[Compassion in World Farming]

The UK consumes about 25 kilograms of pig meat per capita per year—that’s a lot of Great British fry-ups! The majority of this consumption comes from bacon, ham, and pork chops, which are all high in saturated fat. However, there are health benefits to consuming pig meat. For example, pig meat is high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids.

pork
Image Credit: Lebensmittelfotos, Pixabay

8. Every year, 10 million pigs are slaughtered in the UK.

[The Guardian]

Every year, 10 million pigs are slaughtered in the UK, alongside 1 billion chickens and over 3.5 million cattle. Meat and dairy are produced cheaply by industrial farming by maximizing production while minimizing costs. As we have seen, the majority of UK-farmed pigs are raised intensively on mega-farms.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Pigs in the UK

Is Pig Farming Profitable in the UK?

[National Pig Association]

In contrast to rising profitability across other farming sectors, incomes on pig farms plummeted by 75% this year. From a relatively comfortable £48,000 per year the previous year, pig farm income in England plummeted to £11,800 in 2021/22. The figure is the lowest in a decade. As input costs have significantly outpaced output in the past year, pig farmers have suffered losses of nearly £31,000, on average. So currently, while pig framing is profitable in the UK, it does not provide a good return on investment for farmers.

pig farm
Image Credit: Patnaree Asavacharanitich, Shutterstock

How humane is pig farming?

The widespread production of pork products has come at a cost to the animals involved. Pigs are kept in tight spaces, often without access to social interactions or sunlight, and subjected to intense stress. These animals are kept in cramped spaces with little room to move, which results in them experiencing extreme suffering. Many people believe that these conditions are inhumane and that pigs should not be raised for their meat in this way.

Are pigs a good choice for UK hobby farmers?

There are many reasons why pigs may be a good choice for UK hobby farmers. They are efficient producers of meat and they are easy to manage. In particular, heritage breed pigs are becoming increasingly popular as a choice for UK hobby farmers. These pigs come from specific breeds that have been selectively bred for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. These pigs are thought to be healthier and have more flavorful meat than other types of pigs.

How many pigs are there in the world?

[Pet Keen]

As of 2021, there were around 677.6 million pigs worldwide. When it comes to the most consumed types of meat around the world, pork came in second only to poultry. Due to this, the pork industry is a major player in both agriculture and commerce throughout the world. The export and import of pork are a major part of many countries trade with one another.

Which country has the most pigs worldwide?

[Statistica]

China has an incredible 450 million pigs! In fact, more than half of all pigs in the world live in China. The country is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork. Despite a decline in pork exports over the past few years, the country remains the world’s largest pig producer. Among the world’s biggest pig producers, the EU is second and the US is third.

China’s rising income level and burgeoning middle class are fueling the pig-breeding industry. This is a number that is only increasing as China becomes more prosperous. The Chinese pork industry is worth billions of dollars and employs millions of people. It’s also responsible for significant environmental damage due to the air and water pollution caused by pig production.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the UK has an estimated 5 million pigs. This is a significant number and shows just how important pork products are in the country’s culture. The pork industry is big business, and with good reason. There are many ways to enjoy pork products, whether they’re eaten fresh, cooked into a dish, or used in the production of other goods.

See Also:


Featured Image Credit: dyoma, Shutterstock

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