Monica Commandeur / INRA
Monica Commandeur & François Casabianca / INRA
Emmanuel Leca / CCSTI
Delphine Allin / CCSTI
Simone Riolacci, Elisabeth Bernard, Oscar Maestrini, Annet Bruins,
the Corsican pig breeders, and INRA Paris
This slide presentation is the animated version of a
popularized scientific poster presentation, showing
Corsican pig breeding in a series of 15 posters.
The slide show is now available on the internet in
English and in French.
Please send any comment for the improvement of
this slide presentation or otherwise to:
For viewing the photographic exposition:
Please visit the handouts on the notes pages
beneath the slides here as well!
In Corsica, pigs are free range. This life in the open
air, based on provisions from the natural
environment, is very different from that of pigs kept
indoors all their lives.
But, the uncontrolled movements of the pigs can
lead them to stray, onto the roads and into the
dumps, showing the limits of an extensive system if
it is not well managed.
How to limit the straying and to train the pigs to
stay on the established tracks?
Why limit the pigs’ movement? To protect the piglets
from predators, to improve reproduction and birth
management, and to feed the herds during difficult
But, the breeders’ constructions are often made with
recovered materials and can degrade the country-
How to get breeding practices towards better
integration in the landscape and allowance of
Pigs in Corsica are not black due to crossbreeding
with wild boars but because the local population is
part of the Iberian type (small sized coloured
For its recognition this breed needs to be managed
using a fixed standard with a herd book guarantee
(good knowledge of their parents and their origins
before identifying a future reproducer). Collaborative
work led to the official recognition of the Nustrale
breed in January 2006.
What type is pure bred and who should be
directing the herd book criteria?
The extensive breeder must ensure that his animals
are adapted to the breeding system and its
constraints, like wandering for food and protection
For some breeders, a good sow is a sow that looks
after her piglets. Others prefer an intelligent sow that
knows its area well and is capable of teaching the
tracks, the waterholes and the sleeping areas to her
The question is: what is a good sow in the
Corsican breeding system?
Historically, and still within the framework of the
family farm, except the autumn, the pigs are fed
agricultural by-products and pigswill. In autumn, the
pigs also feed on the pasture land and in the forests
(chestnut and oak).
Recent research results showed that a good feed
supplement is a mixture of 80% barley, 15% peas and
5% mineral and vitamin supplements, and without
maize: the fat would become too oily.
How to include alien (industrial) feedstuff in a
basically organic farming system?
Extensive breeding requires a lot a work both daily
Over the year the work is governed by the seasonal
rhythm of birth, finishing and slaughtering periods.
Breeding pigs in Corsica is physically hard work,
generally carried out by rustic men.
What is the significance of the seasonal and
daily rhythm that ties the breeder to his farm?
A life of freedom out in the open air has its
advantages: an animal living in the wild with the
natural behaviour of its species and so has a better
But it has also its drawbacks: not to eat one’s fill
every day, to be subject to the whims of the climate
and predators, suffering during some manipulations.
How to reconcile the nature of the pigs and the
management environment of the breeders?
A pig breeder in Corsica lives out in the open air;
takes part in family and village life, and is proud of
being what he is and including the perpetuating
The profession of breeder means also financial
insecurity and the risks specific to breeding.
Socially, there are fewer and fewer perspectives for
For example, how far is the nearest dentist?
Traditionally, slaughter is carried out on the farm,
and the tumbera (slaughter) used to be village
Henceforth, the breeders have to use the rare
slaughter houses in Corsica.
How to achieve balance between hygiene control
demands and the impact of local knowledge ?
Processing carcasses into meat products is heavy
work for the whole family: it represents a peak work
period during the year.
Cuts are salted; products using gut are elaborated
traditionally. A wide variety of products on which the
breeder can assess his work: from the birth of the
piglet to prisuttu (ham) after two years of age, over
three years has gone by in all.
How to conserve the link between the beneficial
skills of processing and its reflection on breeding?
The sales of the breeder-processor are usually direct
sales to the consumer: they are regular clients who
appreciate the products well.
With the increase of clients and places of sales, the
sales become impersonal and product abuse (of
false origin) occurs regularly. New guarantees are
needed to restore confidence in Corsican pork meat
How to construct a market ambience of respect
and confidence for producers and consumers?
The various ways of presenting and labelling the
products from extensive breeding, are becoming an
essential aspect in distinguishing them from
industrial products made from shipped in carcasses
However, knowing how to appreciate these products
with knowledge of their flavour and specificities is
most important. This apprenticeship must be
stimulated so that new clients become connoisseurs.
Both sales management and appreciation of
products require specific training!
The pig breeder’s profession counts for a lot in
maintaining a rural network in the mountains. It
supposes that the management of natural resources
is taken into account, and that a balance between
incomes is tied with pig production, that the soil and
the landscape is restored, and that animal welfare is
Beyond the motivations for local breeds and the
defence of PDO products, the training of young
breeders and the retirement of the older ones should
Is quality development without (substantial)
quantity increase sufficient for sustainability?
The system of the producer, who is at the same time
breeder, processor and salesman of his products
has shown to maintain stability. However, it is now
essential to reposition this producer within a
professional debate network in order to implicate
him in the future of his activity.
The recent recognition of the local breed and the
expected PDO for the products are two major
support points of the regional tendency.
How to organise local distinction and diversity
in globalizing integrations?
Ecological sustainability: biodiversity
• in animal genetics
• in animal and environment interactions
• in breeders’ interactive management
Social sustainability: network diversity
• in technical and social collaboration
• in institutionalisation of initiatives
• in administration of criteria for certification
Economic sustainability: diversity in integration
• in geographical localities
• in food chains
• in market ambience preferences
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