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South African Supermarket Pledges Sow Stall-Free

News Icon 24/07/2014

I am delighted to share with you the news from South Africa that major supermarket, Woolworths, has taken the ground-breaking step of only selling fresh pork produced without the use of sow stalls.

This announcement is a hugely welcome development and comes after years of hard work on this issue by Compassion in World Farming’s director in South Africa, Louise van der Merwe. Speaking from Cape Town, Louise joined the celebration saying, “We are extremely pleased that Woolworths and their pig farmers are changing the way sows are treated. We hope that other producers will soon follow suit”.

Instead of tiny crates, little bigger than the pregnant sows themselves, Woolworths has pledged that for its fresh pork, all expectant mother pigs will be kept in group housing where they will have the freedom to move around and socialise.

It is a move which comes just three months after Woolworths received a Good Egg Award from us for committing to cage-free eggs, an award that I had the pleasure of presenting to company Managing Director, Zyda Rylands in April.

Talking about Woolworths’ latest commitment on sow stalls, Zyda shared that this was a move that they and their customers have wanted to take for a number of years; “I am sure that they [our customers] will be happy to know that they will soon be able to buy more humanely produced pork at Woolies”.

Compassion led the campaign that achieved a ban on sow stalls – one of the worst factory farm systems – in the UK since 1999 and in the EU since January last year. Woolworths can be rightly proud of taking this historic step in South Africa, moving to eliminate the system from its supply chain. It again demonstrates the company’s commitment to better welfare.

Louise and all of us at Compassion look forward to working with Woolworths on taking next steps along what they term their “Good Business Journey”.


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