Getting sows out of stalls
Hundreds of millions of pigs around the world are kept in factory farms.
Just under 1 billion animals in the world today are pigs. Over 500 million of these pigs live in industrialised systems, known as factory farms. Being kept in such intensive conditions has severe health and welfare implications for the animals involved.
Compassion in World Farming has campaigned for many years to ensure higher welfare standards for pigs. During this time we have seen vital steps forward, including the recognition of animals as sentient beings within the EU (Lisbon Treaty, 2009), and the passage of legislation such as Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs.
Project Pig is Compassion’s campaign to build on the legislative advances made within the EU, with specific regard to enforcing the Pigs Directive across Europe. With initial emphasis on the 2013 Sow Stall Ban, Project Pig lobbies DEFRA, the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU Agriculture Ministers to stop some of the routine abuses of pig welfare.
We also monitor and make formal complaints to the European Commission regarding breaches of the Pigs Directive by EU countries which can result in these countries being taken to the European Court.
Sow Stalls – In Brief
Sow stalls were banned in the UK in 1999 – after a campaign by Compassion in World Farming - and were outlawed across all twenty seven EU member states on 1st January 2013, except for the period up till four weeks into a sow’s pregnancy.
Sow stalls are inhumane systems. They act like prisons for the sows involved, limiting their movement to the extent that they cannot even turn around. Living in a stall a sow cannot follow her most basic natural behaviours such as to root, forage or explore and in this barren environment she will often resort to biting the metal bars that surround her, through frustration, boredom or hunger.
Good Pig Award
At Compassion, we work with retailers and producers to help improve pig welfare. In 2012 we launched a Good Pig Award that celebrates companies that are using or committing to using, higher welfare systems for sows and meat pigs. More details of the award can be found on the Compassion in Food Business website.
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