Farrowing Crates: 60 Years of Cruelty

Did you know that mother sows naturally sing to their piglets while they are suckling? Pigs, like us, have strong maternal instincts.

A mother sow nesting with her piglets

When a sow is kept in a farrowing crate, no such singing occurs. In fact, she cries out in pain as she is trapped, unable to stand up in a darkened room. There is no relief from this trauma, because after four weeks her piglets are taken away and she will be re-impregnated; forced to face the same ordeal over and over again. When she is unable to have any more piglets she will be sent off for slaughter.

No straw bedding is provided in a farrowing crate

Farrowing crates were originally designed to stop the mother from accidentally crushing her piglets as she moves around. Which, to be fair, is a terrible reality of pig farming. However the cruelty involved in keeping sows in farrowing crates necessitates finding an alternative.

The problem is that farrowing crates are ‘good enough’. They do the job and they don’t cost too much money. The pork industry must care more about money than ethics or else they’d have found a solution by now. Farrowing crates have been in use since the 1960s.

While the industry is phasing out sow stalls, there are no plans to do the same for farrowing crates, despite the fact that farrowing crates are smaller and more restrictive than sow stalls.

Other countries such as Sweden and Switzerland have already banned the farrowing crate, so why shouldn’t we do the same?


– Robin