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Australia's Intensive Pig Industry

The intensive pig industry in Australia has much to hide

Sow stalls - Tasmanian Pig Farm

Sow Stalls in a Tasmanian Pig Farm

Sow Stalls

Like the majority of Australia’s pigs, most Tasmanian pigs are farmed intensively in factory farms. Sows (mother pigs) live their lives in sheds standing in rows of crates called sow stalls, with metal bars surrounding them and concrete floors.

The code of practice for the welfare of these animals suggests that a sow stall be 200 cm long and 60 cm wide, barely bigger than the sow herself. Sows are unable to turn around, walk or stretch out. Many sow stalls are even smaller than the recommended size. The pigs are denied of all natural behaviour. Theirs is a life of suffering and complete deprivation.

They are treated as breeding machines and each sow's worth is gauged on how many piglets she can produce a year and how quickly she can be made pregnant again after each litter. Productivity and profit drives the pig industry. It is culpable for horrendous suffering.

Sows suffer from lameness, foot injuries, cuts and pressure sores, as well as weakened bones and muscles due to lack of exercise. Due to a complete absence of stimulation these intelligent and curious animals often resort to repetitive behaviour such as bar biting due to frustration and boredom.

Farrowing Crates

For many sows the only time they will leave the sow stall is when heavily pregnant. They are then moved to an even smaller space called a farrowing crate which is 200cm long and 50cm wide.

The sow is crammed into this crate to give birth and rear her piglets. Instinctively a sow feels the urge to find materials and build a nest in which to give birth. This natural instinct is in vain as all she is provided with is a cold concrete or slat floor and, again, metal bars.

For the next 3 to 4 weeks, with her body surrounded by a metal frame, she suckles her young. She can stand up or lie down but is completely restricted from having any interaction with her young at all.

After 3 to 4 weeks her piglets are taken away to be fattened and she is impregnated again. She is then returned to the sow stall and the whole cycle of suffering starts again.

This cycle will continue until her productivity drops and then she will see daylight often for the first time in her life as she is trucked to the slaughter house.

Pigs are extremely intelligent, sensitive and curious animals. They have been shown to be more intelligent than dogs. Society would never allow dogs to be kept in these conditions but because pigs are farm animals society turns a blind eye.

The Alternatives

Humane farrowing pens (below right) with nesting material, used in conjunction with a free range paddock are a significant improvement on sow stalls.

"Bred free-range" describes a system in which the young are born in a free-rnage enclosure and allowed to stay with their mother for around 8 weeks. They are then separated from their mother and brought indoors to live out the rest of their short lives in deprivaton.

Pigs have a range of natural behaviours that they need to exhibit - nesting, digging for roots, wallowing in mud, and the ability to interact with each other. They also enjoy just eating green grass!

The real alternative to sow stalls and farrowing crates is for humans not to eat the flesh of pigs at all. This is the only true way to end the suffering of farmed pigs.

Consumer Power

Consumers alone have the power to end the cruel confinement of pigs.

Sow stalls are banned in many countries. Britain has completely banned the use of sow stalls. The UK’s 500,000 sows are kept in more humane alternative systems. The rest of the European Union has a ban taking effect in 2013.

The government made a commitment to end the use of sow stalls in Tasmania by 2013, but the industry is resisting the move. Farrowing crates will still be allowed though. Contact the Minister for Primary Industries and say you support the move to stop us of sow stalls, and that you want to see an end to the use of farrowing crates too.

One of the best forms of community support to force unethical, intensive industries to change, is how you spend your money. Falling profits instantly attract attention! So growing community concern for the suffering and quality of life for pigs, prior to becoming a product on the supermarket shelf, will be the most effective tool to convince the industry that change is urgent, relevant and necessary.

Far more important than calling for changes to way pigs are kept before they are killed to be eaten is to think about how their suffering can be avoided altogether. Choose not to eat the flesh of pigs and you take the immediate step of helping to end the cruelty. Take a look here for more information.

Sow stall - Tasmanian pig farm

Sow in a stall in a Tasmanian pig farm

Farrowing Crate - Tasmanian Pig Farm

Farrowing crate in a Tasmanian pig farm

Farrowing Crates (above and below) are used in conjunction with sow stalls. More than 90% of Australia’s pigs live in these inhumane conditions.Farrowing crate

humane farrowing pen


AACT NowFudge and Ziggy

Please think carefully before you make your purchase. The majority of Australia’s 350,000 breeding sows are confined in sow stalls and farrowing pens for part of their miserable lives, and therefore the vast majority of ham, pork and bacon products available in Australia are from factory farms.

Write to the management of supermarket chains and advise your local store manager that you will not purchase intensively farmed pork.

Tell your friends about this campaign and encourage them to make ethical purchases.

Leaflets are available free of charge if you would like to help spread the word, contact AACT.

Visit the following web site www.savebabe.com for more information on this national campaign or call 1800 888 584.

Are you interested in a school visit from one of the campaign mascots? Contact AACT for more information.

Fudge, one of the campaign mascots, as a baby, and his friend Ziggy..

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Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania

Email: info@aact.org.au Tel: 0408 970 359

 
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