Pig industry moves on sow stalls!

Following years of relentless consumer awareness campaigning by Animals Australia, the Australian pig industry has finally agreed to restrict the use of cruel sow stalls.

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PUBLISHED ON: 17 November 2010

The decision announced on November 17 at Australian Pork Limited's AGM will see the industry move towards restricted use of the stalls by 2017, more than a decade after the cruel system was banned in the UK. In a press release APL stated that the decision was due to "a growing unrest among customers about the industry’s use of gestation stalls". Whilst this decision is welcomed by Animals Australia, we will be actively campaigning to bring this date forward.

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A sow stall in a tiny metal cage in which pregnant pigs can legally be confined for weeks on end, unable to lie down properly or turn around.

As Animals Australia's Executive Director Glenys Oogjes has stated, "These cruel devices are causing suffering to animals now — and will continue to do so every minute that animals remain confined in them. Coles responded to consumer concerns by gaining a commitment from their producers to end the use of sow stalls by 2014, so there should be no excuse for other Australian pig producers to not be able to meet this date.

"Skyscrapers and freeways are built in less than six years. Whilst this is a positive announcement by Australian Pork Limited, there is no legitimate justification for not getting rid of sow stalls earlier and we will be campaigning for them to do so."

Animals Australia has been at the forefront of national public awareness campaigns highlighting the suffering endured by mother pigs in sow stalls and farrowing crates in factory farms. Our television commercials shocked Australians, many of whom were unaware that mother pigs could be confined in metal crates barely able to move.

"As there were a number of pig producers who voted against this decision, we have justifiable concerns at their willingness to comply with this voluntary phase out even by 2017. Whether intentional or not, the wording 'pursue the voluntary phasing out of gestation stalls by 2017' allows any disgruntled producer a clear loophole to not get rid of sow stalls by 2017.

"The reality is that the only way that consumers will feel confident that the entire pig industry is acting on the cruelty of sow stalls is if Woolworths and other retailers follow Coles' ethical lead and commit to their pork products being sow stall free by 2014. Further, given the significant market share of imported ham and bacon products, consumers will likely demand that Australian retailers also take steps to ensure that these products are 'sow stall free'."

Animals Australia applauds the pig producers who have been willing to acknowledge and act on welfare concerns. We hope that they will continue to do so. Whilst there has been a strong focus on sow stalls, the use of farrowing crates and surgical procedures without anaesthetic will also never be accepted by an informed community.

You can help pigs here and now

  1. One of the best things anyone can do to help end cruelty to pigs is to refuse factory farmed products. Take the Make it Possible pledge and help create a world without factory farming.
  2. Whilst hope is in sight for Australian pigs, the same cannot be said for mother pigs confined indefinitely in sow stalls overseas to produce the majority of imported bacon, ham and smallgoods. Please urge Australian importers to adopt a sow-stall-free policy to ensure that restriction of sow stalls in Australian piggeries means a reduction of sow stall products across Australia.
  3. Check out cruelty-free alternatives to factory farmed products and delight your friends with some pig-free recipes!

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