Las Vegas pig farm relying on food scraps from casinos struggles during coronavirus pandemic

Las Vegas pig farm counting on meals scraps from casinos struggles throughout coronavirus pandemic

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LAS VEGAS – While tens of hundreds of individuals depend on the Las Vegas Strip for work to maintain meals on the desk, hundreds of pigs additionally depend on the Strip for his or her meals.

Las Vegas Livestock, a neighborhood pig farm situated about 30 miles northeast of the Strip, makes use of the meals scraps from the casinos and switch it into feed.

“Las Vegas, you know, I call it the Holy Grail of food scraps. Well, I used to, now it’s kind of dried up,” Hank Combs, proprietor of Las Vegas Livestock, informed Fox News.

Before the pandemic shut down the Strip, Las Vegas Livestock would get around 25 tons of food scraps from casinos to turn into feed for its pigs.

Before the pandemic shut down the Strip, Las Vegas Livestock would get round 25 tons of meals scraps from casinos to show into feed for its pigs.
(Ben Brown / Fox News)

About 90 p.c of the pigs’ weight-reduction plan come from on line casino meals scraps, however when COVID19 pressured the Strip to close down, the meals provide stopped.

“That’s been the biggest hit, just not having those [scraps] that used to come in daily. Now we have to rely on alternate food sources and sometimes that means that they don’t come in as often or it’s just one product which isn’t very nutritionally well-rounded for the pigs’ diet,” farm supervisor Sarah Stallard informed Fox News.

Prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas Livestock would obtain every day shipments of meals scraps from casinos just like the Venetian, Cosmopolitan, Mandalay Bay and others that take part within the farm’s meals scrap recycling program. Everything from lobster to filet mignon to sweet make it to the farm, the place it goes by means of a novel system that de-packages the merchandise, separating the trash and the meals earlier than its pumped by means of the cooker to create the feed for the pigs.

Las Vegas Livestock is the one firm listed on the EPA’s web site relating to meals waste donations to animals in Nevada, in addition to the one one listed on Nevada’s Division of Environmental Protection.

Utilizing meals scraps to feed pigs shouldn’t be frequent at U.S. farms, and in 2007, the newest knowledge discovered, solely three p.c of U.S. hog farms fed their animals meals scraps.

The meals provide has been severely restricted for the reason that Strip shut down in mid-March, and in just some quick months the farm went from having greater than 4,000 pigs all the way down to about 1,500.

“We were buying pigs every two to three weeks. So, we quit buying pigs right away because we knew that was going to affect our feed source,” Combs stated.

COVID-19 has taken a toll on the business, inflicting crops to close down as workers get sick and slaughterhouses to shut. With nowhere to take the pigs and no house to deal with them, farmers have been pressured to euthanize hundreds of animals.

A pig at Las Vegas Livestock can be seen drinking water and eating feed made from food scraps.

A pig at Las Vegas Livestock will be seen consuming water and consuming feed comprised of meals scraps.
(Ben Brown / Fox News)

Roughly 170,000 “market-ready” hogs can’t be processed because of plant closures, based on a report from the National Pork Producers Council in early May. The pigs will ultimately develop too massive to be accepted at harvest services, and an estimated 10 million hogs should be euthanized within the coming months to stop overcrowding.

With massive conglomerates being pressured to unload their hogs at discount costs in an effort to handle house, the smaller farms, like Las Vegas Livestock, are struggling to promote their animals and compete.

“Bigger facilities that are trying to get rid of their hogs, they’re selling to the places that we sell to normally and very, very cheap. Since we buy them as feeder pigs at a certain rate, we have to sell them higher in order to be sustainable as a business. So right now, we can’t do that.”


Las Vegas Livestock buys feeder pigs round 60 kilos which are able to be placed on feed, which prices extra and should be offered at the next fee to show a revenue.

Additionally, regulatory hurdles stop smaller farms from having the identical entry to the patron market as bigger services – an ongoing challenge that has been highlighted amid the pandemic.

“One of the things that you’re seeing is proposals by members of Congress and in some states to really try to reduce those barriers and make sure that the smaller operators, those farmers, and those producers can get their products to the tables of American consumers who can introduce them in places where traditionally in the past they might not have been able to sell them like grocery stores,” stated Rob Bluey, Heritage Foundation vp of communications and spokesman for the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission.

Pigs eating from the trough at Las Vegas Livestock.

Pigs consuming from the trough at Las Vegas Livestock.
(Ben Brown / Fox News)

The Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act, often known as the PRIME Act, is outdated laws that has gained new life because the coronavirus continues to have a heavy influence on the meat business. It goals to halt the wasteful slaughter of numerous livestock and would “give individual states freedom to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork, or lamb to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores.”


The act was re-introduced within the House final May, and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and Maine unbiased Angus King have put ahead accompanying laws within the Senate

“What this laws would do is develop the exemptions and make it simpler (for small farmers) to promote to locations like grocery shops and eating places,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, – who first launched the laws together with Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, nearly 5 years in the past – informed Fox News’ Hollie McKay. “The identical laws that apply to multinational beef hackers that slaughter 10,000 animals a day should not apply to a rancher slaughtering 20.”

Combs hopes the PRIME Act will assist smaller farms compete with bigger services and underscored the necessity for extra processing services.

“You have this problem with a pandemic when those plants shut down it affects the whole industry. If you had a bunch of little places all over the country that were processing maybe a hundred or so at a time, you wouldn’t have that problem when those shut down. It wouldn’t be devastating to the industry,” Combs stated.


Combs has been in a position to work with different corporations to seek out different sources for meals scraps and with casinos seeking to reopen, albeit with restricted capability and restrictions, within the coming weeks, he’s optimistic that the farm will be capable of keep afloat.

“I mean we were growing, we were struggling, new businesses, right? And all the learning curves you have to do with that. We weren’t that profitable, and now we have this, we have no feed and no market basically which makes it pretty devastating,” he added.