• by: Animal Welfare Action Group
  • recipient: Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Oppostition Leader Tony Abbott, All Australian State and Federal Agricultural Ministers

We, the undersigned, would like to see all sow stalls/gestational crates banned by 2017 in Australia. Currently the industry has imposed a self regulated voluntary phase out of sow stalls by 2017, due to public pressure and animal welfare concerns. However this is not a legislative change therefore it will still be legal for their use to continue post 2017.

Tasmania is the only state in Australia that has committed to legally banning this barbaric practice after 2017. Post 2017 in all other Australian states, pig farmers will still be able to legally use these stalls for the first 6 weeks of the sow’s pregnancy. Therefore we are asking  all State MP's to ban the use of sow stalls and gestational crates for any time period after 2017.

Why do we want the use of sow stalls/gestational crates to be banned?

Firstly, female pigs (sows) spend their entire lives indoors without feeling the sun on their backs in extremely confined conditions. They have no room to move or turn around. The space is so small that they can only take one step back or forward. The gestational period for sows is 16 weeks and they are confined in these conditions for the entire time period. The sow stalls they are confined to measure 0.6 x 2.2 meters.  Two weeks before giving birth the sows are relocated to farrowing crates are even more restrictive.

A sow is forced to give birth on a concrete floor; with no nesting materials. Once the piglets are born she cannot interact or nurture them, she is denied the maternal instincts that are rightfully hers. Even more horrifying is the fact that she has to watch her young be castrated, have their teeth extracted and watch their tails being docked. She hears them screaming in terror and pain and she cannot do anything about this because she is confined and trapped. When her piglets are 3-4 weeks old they are removed from her, she is impregnated again and the whole cruel cycle begins again.

The pork industry justifies these stalls by saying they do this for the animals own well being; they are protecting sows from other aggressive pigs. However credible research shows us that sows confined like this experience severe depression, boredom and frustration which can in turn lead to aggressive behaviour. If sows were provided more space and appropriate bedding the above housing systems would not be necessary. The real reason for the industry to allow these inhumane housing systems is to maximise space so more sows can be housed, therefore increasing profits.

Countries such as the UK, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands have banned the use of gestation / sow stalls. Several states in the USA have also outlawed them. The EU and New Zealand are in the process of banning them as well. Australia should follow their lead and do so as well.

We, the undersigned are asking you to ban them outright after 2017.

State and Federal Agriculture MinistersState and Federal Agriculture Ministers
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