Las Vegas pig farm relying on food scraps from casinos struggles during coronavirus pandemic
By Benjamin Brown, Fox News
May 18, 2020
LAS VEGAS – While tens of thousands of people rely on the Las Vegas Strip for work to keep food on the table, thousands of pigs also rely on the Strip for their meals.
Las Vegas Livestock, a local pig farm located about 30 miles northeast of the Strip, uses the food scraps from the casinos and turn 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, owner of Las Vegas Livestock, told Fox News.
About 90 percent of the pigs' diet come from casino food scraps, but when COVID19 forced the Strip to shut down, the food supply 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 manager Sarah Stallard told Fox News.
Prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas Livestock would receive daily shipments of food scraps from casinos like the Venetian, Cosmopolitan, Mandalay Bay and others that participate in the farm’s food scrap recycling program. Everything from lobster to filet mignon to candy make it to the farm, where it goes through a unique system that de-packages the products, separating the trash and the food before its pumped through the cooker to create the feed for the pigs.
Las Vegas Livestock is the only company listed on the EPA's website regarding food waste donations to animals in Nevada, as well as the only one listed on Nevada's Division of Environmental Protection.
Utilizing food scraps to feed pigs is not common at U.S. farms, and in 2007, the most recent data found, only 3 percent of U.S. hog farms fed their animals food scraps.
The food supply has been severely limited since the Strip shut down in mid-March, and in just a few short months the farm went from having more than 4,000 pigs 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 said...
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