An American Pig in the Philippines

On a cool morning in July, a planeload of porcine royalty took off from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, packed into wooden crates, for a 17-hour flight to the Philippines. The pigs, 655 selected from several Midwestern farms, are known for their exceptional ability to produce plump, fast-growing piglets, and lots of them. They are part of a global trade in breeding livestock, particularly to developing countries where demand for meat and dairy is growing.The pigs' children and grandchildren will likely be used for breeding too. But their great grandchildren will be raised for slaughter, ending up in Filipino "wet" markets or, increasingly, in Western-style grocery stores. Photographs by Philip Montgomery for Bloomberg Businessweek

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    A group of piglets nurse in a pen at Whiteshire Hamroc, in Albion, Ind. 

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    Standing behind a glass partition at a barnyard showroom at Whiteshire Hamroc in Albion, Ind, a company that specializes in swine genetics, Tony Clayton, president of Clayton Agri-Marketing (left), describes and critiques various types of pigs on display for his customer, Edwin Chen (right), a Filipino businessman who is looking to expand his family's pork business. 

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    Jessica Weirick, a farrowing manager at Whiteshire Hamroc, processes a newborn piglet, which involves clipping the navel, cutting the needle teeth, and ear notching the pig for identification.

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    When the pigs arrive in Pampanga, Philippines, workers ascend large wooden crates to start unloading and distributing 655 pigs to their owners. The workers also pour water, ice, and watermelon slices on top of the pigs to regulate the animal's body temperature and keep them from overheating.

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    After a 17-hour flight from Chicago O’Hare airport to Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Philippines, a crate of pigs is unloaded outside the airport tarmac. Workers climb inside the wooden crates to transfer the newly arrived pigs onto trucks that are en route to various farms throughout the Philippines.

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    During the unloading process, a pig (a gilt from Whiteshire Hamroc) escapes from the wooden crate and is chased and eventually captured by workers. 

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    A roadside stand owned by the pig farm, Quickgrow Genetics, provides customers with the option of driving their pickup trucks to a docking bay and purchasing multiple or single live pigs for slaughter, in San Quintin, Pangasinan, Philippines.

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    A worker covers his face inside a feed mill where pig feed is mixed and ground at Quickgrow Genetics, a pig farm owned by Aristotle O. Santos, a 3-hour drive from Manila in San Quintin, Pangasinan.

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    A pig stands in a pen prior to being displayed for a potential buyer in a barnyard showroom at Whiteshire Hamroc.

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    A butcher is covered in blood and chunks of pig carcass after butchering meat for patrons at a wet market in the Quezon City neighborhood of Metro Manila. Wet markets, the traditional way of buying meat in the Philippines, are facing increased competition from Western-style grocery stores.

     

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    Using a large saw (splitter), a worker saws open the middle of the spine to dislodge the bones of a newly slaughtered pig at Parañaque Meat Processing & Slaughterhouse. situated 15 kilometers outside Metro Manila. Parañaque provides slaughtered pigs to grocery stores and wet markets throughout the Philippines. 

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    An employee packages body parts of pigs in a refrigerated room filled with recently slaughtered pig carcass at Parañaque Meat Processing & Slaughterhouse. 

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    A man carries a recently slaughtered pig across the street in the La Lamo neighborhood of Quezon City in Metro Manila. The pig was slaughtered in a small independently owned slaughterhouse in La Lamo. 

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    Numerous packages of hot dogs sit in display case at the grocery store.

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    Customers browse the meat selection at the grocery store.