As a family of gorgeous piglets are welcomed into the world at My Lovely Pig Rescue, Compassion in World Farming has launched a major new undercover investigation exposing the immense suffering of sows in cage systems on EU farms, including those supplying ‘premium’ hams Parma and Bayonne, that you can watch here: International Sow Investigation.
Sixteen pig farms in Spain, France, Italy and Poland were inspected, focusing on the conditions the sows are forced to endure, which are as horrific as you would imagine. Ireland wasn’t included in the investigation, but conditions are the same here, as you can see from this undercover investigation by WAKE in 2019: BEHIND THE WALLS OF IRISH PIG FARMING | 2019
The inspections uncovered:
- sows confined in cages barely bigger than their own body
- sows forced to lie in their own urine and faeces
- sows performing abnormal behaviours of repetitively biting the bars and sham chewing
- painful and preventable injuries
- deceased and dying piglets just left on the ground
- sows unable to interact normally with their piglets
What a different experience Nora and her babies have had. Nora was free to nest build, an instinct denied sows on factory farms who are confined to a cage a week before giving birth, when they would naturally be gathering materials to make a comfy bed for the new arrivals. Nora was free to stand up and walk around to ease the contractions – imagine going through labour whilst being shackled to a cage. After giving birth on warm, soft straw rather than cold, hard slatted flooring, Nora could snuffle around her piglets, bond with them, lie carefully next to them, snuggling up to them to keep them warm and protected.
A sow in a crate ends up urinating and defecating on her piglets, sometimes even standing on them, crushing them because her movements are so confined. She endures physical and psychological trauma, getting covered in sores from lying in the same position and driven demented from being trapped in a cage unable to carry out any natural behaviours at all.
The investigation is yet more evidence that there is no welfare in a cage and no animal should be imprisoned behind bars. The EU claims to be a world leader in animal welfare, yet sows cannot move freely and cannot express any natural behaviours. They are not free from pain and suffering, hunger and disease, they are not afforded any of the five freedoms that all animals should have.
Please take action and call on EU Ministers to End the Cage Age
Europe is on the brink of becoming cage-free after the successful End The Cage Age campaign gained 1.4 million signatures across EU member states, and is leading the way for farmed animals around the world. But right now animals are still suffering behind bars. We must urge policy makers to legislate against the use of all cages, including a complete ban on sow stalls and farrowing crates. Please take action to End The Cage Age once and for all. Click on the link and add your name to email EU Ministers https://bit.ly/3y57ec4
For even greater impact you could write your own email, asking EU Ministers to support the European Commission’s commitment to End the Cage Age, referencing the CIWF investigation. You can find all the contacts here – just write one email and send to all the Ministers: EU Agriculture Ministers.
The European Union is closer than ever to becoming the first cage-free region. Millions of animals will have better lives thanks to this legislative change. Let’s help get European animals out of cages. Together, we can achieve a world in which no farmed animal will suffer in a cage.