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What is the RSPCA doing to get pigs out of sow stalls?

Article ID: 110
Last updated: 20 Sep, 2013
Revision: 4
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The RSPCA opposes the use of traditional single stalls for housing sows during pregnancy. Sow stalls place severe restrictions on the movement, social interactions and behaviour of the sows. 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.

The first steps have now been taken to address intensive confinement of sows.

  • The Tasmanian Government announced sow stalls would be phased out from 2017;
  • 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; and
  • 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. The RSPCA has developed a set of standards for welfare-friendly pig production, and pig farms can participate in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme if they meet these standards. Among other things, the farm’s practices must provide for the behavioural and physical needs of the pigs. Use of sow stalls is not permitted. Approved pig producers pay a royalty to the RSPCA, which funds further RSPCA activities aiming to improve the welfare of farm animals. View our standards for pig production or to learn more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme click here.

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