PRESS RELEASE: Community concern forces review of sow stalls

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On JUN 16, 2010

Four years of public awareness campaigns by Animals Australia highlighting the cruelty of pregnant sow stalls has led Australia's pork industry to announce today that the industry will review the continued use of 'gestation' stalls.

Executive Director of Animals Australia Glenys Oogjes said:

"Animals Australia welcomes this news. For many years, Australian consumers had no idea of the lives endured by breeding pigs in Australia. The prospect of losing consumer support has forced the industry to review their use in recognising that such obvious animal cruelty will not be tolerated by consumers."

Only three years ago, during the government review of the pig code of practice, Australian Pork Limited's position was that sow stalls should continue to be allowed to be used infinitum, totally opposing welfare groups' proposals that sow stalls should be banned as they have been in the UK.

"Animals Australia firmly believed that an informed community was the key to forcing change in the intensive pig industry. Individually confining breeding pigs so that they are barely able to move for weeks or months on end is simply unacceptable to the majority of Australians, including the consumers of pork products," said Ms Oogjes.

Currently in Australia it is legal to confine pregnant pigs in sow stalls metal and concrete stalls so tiny that animals cannot even turn around for their entire 4 month pregnancy. Pre-eminent science confirmed that sows suffer physical ailments and even depression as a result of being confined in sow stalls.

"Australian Pork Limited suggestion that pork prices could increase as a result of getting rid of sow stalls is ill-founded. Over 30% of producers have already voluntarily got rid of stalls seeing the writing on the wall and recognising that it is actually in their commercial interests to end a practice that consumers won't tolerate", Ms Oogjes said.

"All Australians who care about animal welfare will be hoping that the outcome of this review will be an announcement by APL at their Annual General Meeting in November that the industry will voluntarily ban sow stalls" concluded Ms Oogjes.

High resolution photographs of sow stalls available on request.

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