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The shocking reality for thousands of sows confined in cages throughout Britain

News Section Icon Published 18/07/2019

An undercover investigation released today (18th July) by leading farm animal welfare charity, Compassion in World Farming, has exposed the grim reality for thousands of sows across the UK, forced to give birth and rear their piglets in farrowing crates.

Footage obtained from two British pig farms in spring 2019 shows mother pigs confined in narrow metal crates within bleak sheds. These conditions are typical for pigs in factory farms throughout the UK.

Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, who narrates the investigation film, said: “It is abysmal that animals are still being raised in such barbaric and outdated systems here in the UK. Higher-welfare, cage-free systems are viable, making the use of cruel cages in farming totally unnecessary. It’s time to stop this cruelty. It’s time to End the Cage Age.”

Sow stalls have been banned in the UK since 1999, however farrowing crates are widely used.

Over half of UK sows (more than 250,000) are confined in these cruel cages for weeks at a time, forced to feed their piglets through bars. They are unable to perform the most basic of behaviours such as walking or turning around, let alone building a nest for their young or foraging for food.

“Our investigation reveals the misery caused by caging farm animals,” explained Natasha Smith, Campaigns Manager at Compassion in World Farming. “This is the reality for thousands of intelligent, sensitive mother pigs.

“Many consumers are completely unaware that this cruelty goes on behind closed doors and are unwittingly supporting these inhumane systems when shopping for pork products.

“Britain prides itself on its high animal welfare standards, but the terrible conditions in which many pigs are born are a stain on the country’s reputation. It’s plain to see this treatment is wrong. So, why are farrowing crates still legal in Britain today, when many farmers have proven it is possible to adopt higher-welfare outdoor or indoor free-farrowing systems?”

Compassion is calling on the Government to bring about an end to the cage age and to usher in a new era in farming of which Britain can be truly proud.

To support the Compassion’s End the Cage Age campaign please visit

Investigation images and footage can be downloaded here.

124461_Pig Investigation - Press Release.pdf:

Download (PDF Size 0.14MB)

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