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PLEASE NOTE: The labeling terms "Kinder to Sows" or "Pork 360" or "Sow Friendly"

are NO guarantee of better lives for the pigs - for as long as factory farms are kept out of sight and the truth is hidden, we can never know the truth.

Be aware - Labels are often used to deceive a gullible public.

A measure of freedom for pregnant pigs is becoming a reality.

Our unrelenting push for better lives is paying off.

The life cycle of a mother pig in a South African factory farm

Up until now, sows have spent their entire 16 week pregnancies incarcerated in sow stalls and are then moved immediately to farrowing crates for 28 days for the birth and suckling of the piglets. They never get to walk.

 

The South African Pork Producers Organisation has given pig farmers until 2020 to phase out sow stalls for pregnant pigs.

The phase out is half-hearted because it still allows for 8 weeks of their pregnancies inside the sow stall!

 

Currently 18% of pig farmers in South Africa are going further and providing loose housing for 15 of the 16 weeks of their pregnancies.

 

Being able to move their limbs and walk around is a better life.

SOW STALL

Current System

 

Still in use until 2020: She spends her entire 16 week pregnancy in a sow stall. She is moved to a farrowing crate to give birth to her piglets and to suckle them for 28 days. Then it’s back to the sow stall for re-insemination and the next 16 weeks of pregnancy.

FARROWING CRATE

Half-hearted phase-out

 

The half-hearted phase-out. All farmers must have achieved this by 2020: 8 weeks of pregnancy in a sow stall, the remaining 8 weeks of pregnancy in loose housing, 28 days in a farrowing crate – and then back to the sow stall for re-insemination and the next 8 weeks,

LOOSE HOUSING

Loose housing

 

Some farmers, like Jeff van Zyl, (see story below) are already doing it a whole lot better: 5 days in a sow stall for impregnation,

the remaining 15 weeks of pregnancy in loose housing, 28 days in a farrowing crate  - then back to the sow stall for 5 days. Only 18% of pig farms in South Africa are doing it this way so far.

Editor’s note:

We believe that when abattoirs become obsolete, we will celebrate our triumph and will find peace as a species.  In the meantime, we will do all we can to lessen the suffering of our fellow beings who are caught up in the industrial profit-driven meat machine.

 

I used to think that just getting the chickens out of cages and the pigs out of sow stalls would be a giant leap forward, but having reached this goal – it took 27 years -

I find I am so very discomforted by the fact that we are still farming these beautiful sentient beings at all.

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Farmer Jeff van Zyl who has farmed pigs for 28 years, gives credit to consumer demand for the new way of farming pigs.

“The consumer is king,” he said. “They don’t want sow stalls. They influenced the supermarkets and it trickled down from there.”

 

Among the most progressive in the world, Mr van Zyl’s pig farm near Malmesbury in the Western Cape goes into production in October 2016  giving pregnant sows space to walk and mingle for most of their pregnancies. The high-tech pig farm will banish sow stalls almost completely. 

Mr van Zyl explained: “The farm managers have to make a mind-shift away from believing that the only way to manage sows is in stalls.  Once they make the shift, they realise that the sows are better off in groups because they get more exercise and are happier and less stressed.”

  

On entering the farm, the young female pigs learn how to enter and exit an electronic feeding stall that identifies each individual and ensures they each receive optimal nutrition. A computer will alert the farmer if one of them goes off her food.

 

After impregnation she moves to loose housing to mingle with the other sows for the remaining 15 weeks of her pregnancy. While in the loose housing system, she also learns how to enter and exit  free-access or self-releasing stalls. This means she can enter and exit a stall at will, if she wants to eat in peace, take time out to be alone, or escape from a bully sow.

 

Positive Check List: 

*  Ambient temperature inside the barn is maintained at comfort level with high-tech evaporative cooling panels and ventilation

*  Food is entirely vegetarian and antibiotic-free.  No fishmeal or any other animal by products.

*  Waste is recycled for compost and organic fertilizer

*  There is traceability back to farm of origin

BETTER LIVES

If you eat pork, please support better lives for pregnant pigs by choosing products that display either the Sow Friendly label  or the  Pork 360 label.

Without these labels there is no reason to believe that the pigs did not lead lives of abject misery, degradation and torment. In addition, there is no traceability to the farm of origin.

PLEASE NOTE: The labeling terms "Kinder to Sows" or "Pork 360" or "Sow Friendly" are NO guarantee of better lives for the pigs - for as long as factory farms are kept out of sight and the truth is hidden, we can never know the truth. Labels are often used to deceive a gullible public.

Farmer Jeff van Zyl (left) provides a system where pregnant pigs do not spend their lives in sow stalls.

 

We would like to thank the Western Cape Pork Producers Organisation and Farmer Jeff van Zyl for hosting our visit on World Animal Day 2016

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