Herds of pigs used to getting gourmet airline meals for dinner will be enjoying their well-traveled treats no more. Authorities in Bali have outlawed the feeding of airline meals to pigs on the island, as fears grow for the spread of African swine fever.
No more airline meals for Bali’s pigs
There are some flights where you feel you wouldn’t feed your meal to a starving pig, it’s that bad; particularly those dodgy cheese sandwiches. However, pigs living on the Indonesian island of Bali were rather enjoying our leftover plane food, that is, until now.
Now, due to concerns about rising cases of African swine fever, the poor piggies have been banned from eating any more airline snacks. Authorities say that leftover food could be infected with the virus, which is not dangerous to humans but could kill entire herds of pigs.
The Bali government has issued a letter banning pig farmers from using leftover food. They’ve particularly highlighted the dangers of using food from aircraft which have visited countries where swine fever is active. According to 7 News, the letter said,
“So, leftover food from the plane should not be given to pigs. It should be destroyed.”
African swine fever has killed around 34.000 pigs in neighboring North Sumatra, and with 760,000 pigs living on Bali, authorities are not taking any chances. As well as banning airlines from donating food to pig farms, passengers can expect tighter customs controls with any items of pork found being confiscated and destroyed.
Why were the pigs eating airline food?
Catering to hundreds of airline travelers is a tough job for any carrier. They don’t want to take more meals than they need but also want to ensure choice for passengers. For economy, there are usually only a handful of meals left over, which is why the last to be served often have to put up with whatever is left.
However, in business and first things are a bit different. Airlines like to ensure they have all the menu options available for every passenger. That means there are more meals wasted that served on each flight, which is a shocking thing when you think about it.
Unfortunately, airlines are in a difficult position. They can’t use the meals on other flights, as there is a tight window between which the meal is prepared and served, after which time it needs to be binned. For this reason, some airlines and airports have formed partnerships with local farmers to provide waste food for them to give to pigs.
Feeding pigs waste food was normal practice all over the world up until the 1990s. Any child of the pre-millennium era will remember the ‘pig bin’ at school, where leftovers were scraped in for collection by a local pig farmer later on. But since the 1996 BSE crisis, the west has stopped feeding scraps to pigs, despite efforts by campaigners to bring it back.
Clearly, in the east, the rules are less stringent. This means planes landing into airports with leftover food can put your unwanted beef Wellington or prawn salad to good use, feeding pigs instead of feeding landfill.
Sadly, for these pigs in Bali, there will be no more airline meals. With any luck, it’s a decision that will keep them alive.