The time to take action against farrowing crates is now
More than 16,000 mother pigs are kept confined in farrowing crates in New Zealand. Tightly confined, a mother pig can merely step forward or backwards. She cannot even turn around for weeks on end. She will never be able to build a nest for her piglets, who will be taken from her within weeks of birth. She may develop pressure sores and joint injuries, and she may chew at the bars of her crate in boredom. For animals that are more intelligent than dogs, this is particularly distressing.
Sadly this treatment of pigs is routine and it never ends - after more than four weeks in the farrowing crate, the cycle of abuse begins again. It is difficult to imagine a less humane way to treat a highly intelligent, social and sensitive animal. The current use of farrowing crates is a violation of New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act, which requires animal owners to ensure their basic needs – including behavioural needs – are met. Yet, somehow, the Code of Welfare allows this cruelty to continue. The use of farrowing crates is described by farmers as ‘best practice’ in pig factory farms. They claim that the crates meet minimum welfare requirements. However, 30% of New Zealand pig farms already do not confine their mother pigs in this cruel way.
Thousands of you have spoken out with us in the petition we have just presented to Parliament. But in order to get real change for pigs, we need to keep the momentum going. We will be working with the public and putting pressure on the government in the coming months to take the voices of the people seriously and to ban cruel farrowing crates.
Watch this space over the coming months as we demand fair, kind treatment for mother pigs!
16 April 2018