Working towards a more compassionate world through education and advocacy


Pigs have always suffered from a bad press. Despite their reputation for gluttony and dirtiness, a lesser known quality is their intelligence.


Where are pigs from?

Pigs are believed to have been domesticated from wild boar as early as 9000 years ago.

They were originally native to Europe and parts of Asia but have, over the centuries, been introduced to many parts of the world. Most pigs live as livestock, but some have become feral, having escaped from farms or been deliberately introduced into the wild for hunting. Some breeds of pig, such as the Asian pot-bellied pig, are kept as pets.


The natural life of pigs

Pigs are naturally omnivorous and will eat both plants and small animals. In the wild they will forage for leaves, grass, roots, fruits and flowers.

Because of their foraging abilities, and an excellent sense of smell, pigs are used to hunt truffles in some parts of Europe.

This level of freedom to express their natural behaviour is not the experience of most pigs today.


Pig farming today

Around 1.3 billion pigs are slaughtered annually for meat worldwide. The majority of these are in East Asia, particularly China, which rears around half of the world’s pigs. This is followed by the EU, North America, Vietnam and Brazil. The majority of pigs are reared for meat and a smaller number are kept for breeding. Whilst some pigs are kept free-range and in back yards in many developing countries, at least half of the world’s pig meat is produced from intensive systems. This shift away from traditional pig farming to large-scale intensive methods has resulted in significant concerns for the welfare of millions of pigs throughout the world.


The Truth about Pig Farming

Pregnant sows all over the world are being given the right at last to use the legs they were born with!


Now 60 000 pregnant sows in South Africa need your voice to help them gain their freedom too. On 1st January 2013, keeping pregnant pigs in stalls/crates longer than the first four weeks of pregnancy, was banned throughout the European Union. This means that pregnant sows in the EU will have the chance, at last, to trot around instead of being confined in a metal cages which, for the last 50 years, have prevented them from moving forwards, backwards or sideways.

Sow stalls are already banned in the UK and Sweden and are being phased out in Tasmania, NewZealand and Australia.


Compassion in World Farming (South Africa) needs your voice for the 60 000 sows still confined in stalls in South Africa! These are the breeding sows – the ones that provide the piglets used for ham and bacon. See the torment of their confinement in this video clip taken on the Wine Route in the Western Cape:

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) wants 2020 to be the deadline for a  phase-out of sow stalls in this country.

Compassion in World Farming (South Africa) suggests that with your help, we can open the stall gates much faster than that!

Some 40 000 sows are already out of sow stalls in South Africa as a result of consumer pressure

(Thank you, Thank you, CIWF supporters for helping us achieve this!)


According to the latest issue of Farmer’s Weekly (4 – 11 January 2013, pages 54, 55 and 56), farmers who are now keeping their sows in small groups on deep litter, instead of in stalls, report that:


  • The sows’ legs are stronger and healthier as a result of being able to use them (!)

  • They look more contented and enjoy socialising (!)

  • There has been no decrease in productivity as was feared and predicted

  • If you eat pork, please ask your supermarket to source free range pork products.


One voice for each of the 60 000 sows in South Africa who will spend 2013 immobilised in stalls – unless we say “NO!”