Do farmers have to kill 700,000 healthy pigs a week because of the coronavirus?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
By William Boger

The spread of coronavirus among pork-processing workers is severely disrupting the industry. The Centers for Disease Control notes that "work environments" in the industry, with crowded conditions during long shifts, "may contribute substantially" to spread of the virus among employees.

In the week ending May 4, pork production in the U.S. fell 34.7% from the year earlier.

Iowa state leaders say farms nationwide are producing a surplus of 700,000 pigs per week, and are seeking federal relief to offset lost sales and to help "efficiently depopulate" the animals.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
Between 2020 and 2022, under close editorial supervision, Gigafact contracted a group of freelance writers and editors to test the concepts for fact briefs and provide inputs to our software development process. We call this effort Gigafact Lab. Over the course of these two years, Gigafact Lab writers published over 1500 fact briefs in response to claims they found online. Their important work forms the basis of Gigafact formats and editorial guidelines, and is available to the public on Gigafact.org. Readers should be aware that while there is still a lot of relevant information to be found, not all fact briefs produced by Gigafact Lab reflect Gigafact's current methods and standards for fact briefs. If you come across any that you feel are out of date and need to be looked at with fresh eyes, don't hesitate to contact us at support@gigafact.org.