The Truth about Sow Stalls

412Sow.jpgIf you shop at Coles you may have seen this label stamped onto the more expensive bacon, but have you ever wondered what sow stalls actually are?

Sow stalls, also known as gestation crates, are metal cages that sows are held in during pregnancy. The stalls, normally measuring 200cm x 60cm are just long enough for the pigs to take a single step forward or backward, and they are so narrow that it is impossible for the pig to turn around. Sows can be forced to remain in these stalls for up to sixteen weeks!

Forced to lay in the same space as they urinate and defecate for weeks at a time

Rather than individual feeding troughs, sows in stalls are often fed from one communal trough where the food gets mixed with the bodily fluids and waste from all the other sows.

Not only do they suffer psychological trauma, swollen limbs and lameness, the sows are sometimes starved in order to induce early births.

The argument that pork producers make for sow stalls is that without them sows that are housed together in pens will fight, injuring or killing each other. However a more ethical alternative is just to provide them with larger pens that allow freedom of movement. Sow stalls are nothing more than a cruel cost-saving measure of factory farms.

Fortunately the Australian pork industry has committed to phasing out sow stalls starting in 2017, but this isn’t actually a ban. Instead they will just reduce the amount of time that sows can be kept in the stalls. Still a positive step forward, but it is not enough. Sow stalls are already banned in the European Union and Canada, as well as several US states. Let’s hope Australia will be next to follow suit.


– Robin


Sow Stall Image By Humane Society of the United States [CC BY 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Change is Needed in the Australian Pork Industry

Pigs behind bars.png

Australians simply don’t care enough about farm animal welfare. When we see tiny kittens and puppies being mistreated we get all up in arms about it. Social media explodes, GoFundMe’s are flooded with donations, the national news runs stories. And yet millions of pigs suffer every year in cramped, unnatural conditions. Where are the headlines about that?

I want to make a change. Though I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve stopped buying factory farmed pork and bacon. I’m paying the premium for free range. It’s worth it.

Pigs are suffering needlessly. There is plenty of room in Australia for large farms with space for pigs to move about, and yet we keep them locked inside, stuffed together like sardines.

What’s worse is that consumers who are trying to make a difference by buying ethical products are being misled by corporations that market “outdoor bred” pork. This is not the same as free range. In fact it’s the opposite. These pigs were kept inside from the age of four weeks. Only their mothers get to move about.

Stop buying sow stall free, outdoor bred and any other pork products that masquerade as ethical choices. It’s free range or nothing.

Follow this campaign on Facebook and Twitter through the links at the side

And let’s make a change! Buy free range!


– Robin