Animal Page


Help Us Get Pigs Out Of Sow Stalls

Do you know what it's like to be happy as a pig in mud? Believe it or not, the majority of pigs in Australia don't. In fact, most pigs will never step foot in the outdoors. They can't root in the dirt, wallow in the mud or forage for food.

The biggest welfare problem facing Australian pigs is the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates. 250,000 breeding sows spend all or part of their pregnancies in a sow stall. These stalls place severe restrictions on the movement, social interaction and natural temperament of sows. They are about as big as the sow herself and she can only take a small step forwards and backwards. An inability to exercise causes their muscles and bones to deteriorate, and they may have great difficulty in standing up or lying down.

The RSPCA opposes the use of traditional single stalls for housing sows during pregnancy.

what RSPCA NSW is doing

In the absence of legislation banning this unacceptable practice, the RSPCA runs public campaigns and lobbies government and industry to try to bring about improvements in the housing conditions for farmed pigs. Only recently:

• Australian Pork Limited announced an industry-wide review into the future use of sow stalls and, as a result of this review, pig farmers are voluntarily phasing out sow stalls by 2017

• retail giant Coles announced that all Coles brand pork would be sow stall-free, as well as processed pork produced in Australia and overseas

The next step for the industry will be to stop using farrowing crates, which are similar to sow stalls but are used when sows are nursing piglets. Many within the industry are already experimenting with more humane farrowing systems that meet the needs of the piglets as well as the sow, and the RSPCA fully supports this work.

By running education campaigns to increase consumer awareness of the issues and ensuring that consumers are provided with welfare-friendly alternatives to traditionally produced pork, the RSPCA aims to create a demand for these welfare-friendly products. This will provide a financial incentive for producers to adopt humane farming practices.

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Choose Wisely

Consumers are increasingly demanding food that has been produced to high animal welfare standards. Choose Wisely is a celebration of animal welfare-friendly food. Choose Wisely businesses have committed to serve eggs, chicken and/or pork produced from animals that have been farmed humanely. That means layer hens, meat chickens and pigs are free to socialise and express their full range of natural actions and instincts.

This is a big commitment so we are asking consumers to support those businesses that choose wisely and to encourage others to join at

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