RSPCA Urges Ministers to Reject Continued Use of Sow Stalls

AUSTRALIA - The RSPCA is today urging state and territory agriculture ministers to reject a proposal in the draft Model Code of Practice governing the welfare of pigs that supports the continued use of sow stalls.
calendar icon 21 April 2007
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The Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) will meet tomorrow to consider a draft of the proposed Code that will allow sow stalls* to be used for a maximum period of six weeks, to be phased in over ten years.

RSPCA Australia Chief Scientist Dr Bidda Jones said tomorrow’s meeting was a chance for governments to act decisively to prevent cruelty to pigs.

“The RSPCA is calling on the PIMC to amend the Code to phase out sow stalls altogether, and also to legislate for enforceable minimum standards,” she said.

“The RSPCA is opposed to the use of sow stalls because they place extreme restrictions on the movement and behaviour of sows,”

“These restrictions result in chronic frustration for the sow, coupled with serious bone and muscle problems from lack of physical activity and exercise,” said Dr Jones.

According to the industry’s own figures, 68% of farmers in Australia already comply with the proposed code in terms of their use of sow stalls.

“Ten years is far too long to phase in something that most farmers are already doing,” said Dr Jones.

“Once again, the RSPCA is asking the ministers to instead, encourage the humane treatment of pigs in Australia’s farms by committing to phase out the use of sow stalls altogether,” she said.

“There is strong opposition in the community to sow stalls and an expectation that governments will act to protect these intelligent and social animals,” said Dr Jones.

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