Government blatantly disregards the law on pigsApril 20th, 2016
Farrowing crates are likely to be used for the foreseeable future after a report by a government committee claims no suitable alternatives exist. But the use of Farrowing crates breaks New Zealand’s animal welfare laws, as the crates do not allow sows to express their normal behaviour.
Farrowing crates are used when mother pigs (sows) give birth and suckle their young. The crates are so small that the sows are unable to turn around for weeks at a time. Animal advocacy organisation SAFE asserts that the crates are just as cruel as sow stalls, another crate so small that pigs were unable to turn around. The government banned sow stalls late last year on the grounds of cruelty, and SAFE wants the same done for farrowing crates.
“The law is quite clear – pigs should be able to turn around. The government shouldn’t just be politely asking the industry to develop systems that don’t involve animal abuse. They should set a deadline and force the pig industry to change,” said SAFE Campaigns Officer Shanti Ahluwalia.
Claims from government advisors and the pig industry suggest that farrowing crates are ‘necessary,’ but the government report makes it clear that cost and a desire to maximise productivity and profit are the real motivators. The report states:
“The Committee agrees that for indoor housing, there are no suitable alternatives to the use of farrowing crates that provide the same welfare benefits to the piglets and maintain the same levels of productivity as farrowing systems currently in use,” (page 2, emphasis added).
“A lot of the spin coming from the government and the industry claim that farrowing crates improve animal welfare and are the best system available,” stated Mr Ahluwalia. “Do they really think the public is going to believe that keeping pigs in crates where mother pigs cannot turn around is more humane than keeping pigs outdoors? It’s about money, not welfare.”