Eyes on Animals investigated into why there are so many piglets that die every year. We spoke to the rendering company about the extremely high figures. There are several explanations- stress (of the piglet but also of the confined nursing sows), bacterial infections from unhygenic conditions, and not enough nipples to provide for each piglet. Due to genetic selection putting pressure on the sow to produce larger and larger litters, more and more frequently per year, an average of 1 piglet per litter now dies (as one can see in the photo above, where the one in the back corner did not even have the strength to walk towards the heat lamp and was dying).
Eyes on Animals will investigate further the welfare complications caused by this.