Facial recognition for pigs: Is it helping Chinese farmers or hurting the poorest?

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Automation is revolutionising China’s pork farms but leaving independent farmers behind

A slender snout. Shapely, upright ears. Like humans, pigs have idiosyncratic faces, and new players in the Chinese pork market are taking notice, experimenting with increasingly sophisticated versions of facial recognition software for pigs.

China is the world’s largest exporter of pork, and is set to increase production next year by 9%. As the nation’s pork farms grow in scale, more farmers are turning to AI systems like facial recognition technology – known as FRT – to continuously monitor, identify, and even feed their herds.

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