Make Farrowing Crates History

Take action Make Farrowing Crates History

NZALA and SAFE secured a massive victory for mother pigs. Help us cement it in place.

About half of pig farms in New Zealand keep mother pigs in farrowing crates. With your help, that’s about to change.

The Government has proposed changes to the pig code of welfare, including a ban on farrowing crates, following NZALA and SAFE’s succesful court case.

This proposal would never have happened had it not been for NZALA and SAFE’s historic court case.

SAFE had exhausted every other option to ban farrowing crates. A 2018 Horizon Research poll found 73% of New Zealand support a total ban on the use of farrowing crate. SAFE delivered a petition to parliament signed by 112,844 people. And still the Government wouldn’t listen.

We were left with no choice but to go to court with NZALA.

The High Court told the Government to go back to the drawing board and draft a new code of welfare that would phase out the traditional use of farrowing crates.

The Government have now proposed two options. Option A would ban farrowing crates. Option B will restrict their use to 72 hours.

NZALA and SAFE’s court case was a massive victory. Now we have to make sure the Government doesn’t water down these new rules.

The wheels of Government move slowly, so to finally end the use of farrowing crates, we need your help.

Take action for mother pigs

Demand a ban on farrowing crates

Send the Ministry for Primary Industries an email demanding a ban on farrowing crates in the new code of welfare for pigs.

The petition to ban farrowing crates

On 14 March 2018, SAFE’s petition to ban farrowing crates was handed to Parliament. It was signed by 112,844 people, believed at the time to be the largest petition in five years. The petition was delivered to former Green MP Gareth Hughes (now Chair of SAFE's board). Yet the use of farrowing crates has continued in clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.

The historic High Court victory

In June 2020, SAFE partnered with our friends at the New Zealand Animal Law Association to challenge the use of cruel farrowing crates in the High Court. This was the first time in New Zealand history that such a challenge had taken place.  On 13 November 2020, the High Court ruled that the minimum standards and regulations for the use of farrowing crates are unlawful. Simply put – the High Court agrees that using farrowing crates to house mother pigs is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

Take Action 

Demand a total ban on the use of farrowing crates.

Email the Ministry for Primary Industries and demand they implement a total ban on the use of farrowing crates.

Key points you can make: 

  • State that you’re a consumer or animal advocate.
  • I want to see Option A – Free Farrowing – as the minimum standard for pigs.
  • Farrowing crates are highly restrictive metal cages, barely larger than the sow’s own bodies – in which they’re typically only able to take one step forward, one step back, and cannot turn around.
  • Pigs are a unique animal with needs that are closer to humans, than sheep or cattle. They are highly intelligent and inquisitive creatures, and these conditions frustrate their very strongly motivated natural urges.
  • Studies investigating piglet survival and housing systems over the last 20 to 30 years have shown variable outcomes, however it is clear from those studies that with selective breeding for good mothers and good animal management, alternative farrowing systems can produce the same, if not better, results than farrowing crates.
  • There are not enough Animal Welfare Inspectors to be able to monitor every pig farm to ensure farmers open a farrowing crate after 72 hours
  • Alternative systems that provide greater behavioural freedom are already in use on nearly half of NZ pig farms
  • Banning farrowing crates demonstrates our strong commitment to animal welfare in New Zealand, locally and internationally to both consumers and trading partners.
  • Other farmers have already moved away from using farrowing crates. The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2015 signalled that farrowing crates would have to be phased out. The Minister explained at the time that the Bill gives farmers “the time they need to make changes”. After 7 years, it’s time for farrowing crates to move on.

This email will be sent directly to the Ministry for Primary Industries. These emails are public information, and can be obtained under the Official Information Act. If you would like to withhold any of your information please write so in your email. 


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As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.