Charity Launches Pig Welfare Campaign

UK - The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has launched its first campaign to raise the welfare standards for the nation's pigs.
calendar icon 17 February 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

Piglet is the nation's favourite pig, with Miss Piggy coming a respectable second, according to a recent RSPCA-commissioned poll.

The survey found that overall 27 per cent of the UK favoured AA Milne's creation, compared to 19 per cent in support of Jim Henson's puppet diva.

Other forerunners included Babe with 13 per cent of the votes, and perennial children's favourites Pinky and Perky.

The results also highlighted a division between the sexes, as women came out strongly in favour of Piglet (36 per cent) over Miss Piggy (16 per cent), while overall men came out slightly more in favour of The Muppet Show's porcine princess (23 per cent, compared to 18 per cent).

Raising funds to help improve pig welfare

The charity has released the results of the poll to coincide with the launch of its first ever fund-raising drive to raise money to help improve the welfare of these highly intelligent, social animals.

"Many people think of the RSPCA as a 'cats and dogs' charity, but in fact the Society was founded in 1824 in direct response to witnessing cruelty towards farm animals at Smithfields Market in London," said Sarah Vickery, donor marketing manager of the RSPCA's fundraising department.

"Now 185 years later, we are going back to our beginnings and asking for people to support the vital work we do in working for better welfare standards for all pigs."

A better law needed to protect pig welfare

High profile campaigns by the RSPCA, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall in recent years have placed the issue of farm animal welfare firmly into the spotlight.

In January, the RSPCA launched its year long 'Rooting for pigs' campaign, calling for better laws to protect pig welfare and clearer labelling on all pork products.

The RSPCA says that pigs are often rated as the fourth most intelligent animal, behind primates, dolphins and elephants.

This means that many of the 160 million pigs reared annually for meat in the European Union (EU) are raised in conditions that the public would think horrifying if applied to any of the above species.

This year, the EU is reviewing its pig welfare legislation, which means the RSPCA has a rare opportunity to lobby for improved conditions for the many millions of pigs that live in cramped and barren conditions across Europe, including the UK.

Join RSPCA in 'Rooting for Pigs'

Part of the charity's fund-raising drive will be asking people to sign a form addressed to the President of the EU, demanding the following:

  • Piglets must not be subjected to mutilations, such as tail docking or castration, without a proper welfare-related reason.
  • Pigs must always be given straw to root about in.
  • Pigs must be kept in enclosures with appropriate flooring and bedding material.
  • Pigs must have sufficient space to move around freely.

In addition, the charity is also asking for a donation, however small, towards the valuable work it does and stresses that during these difficult economic times, even a few pounds will help make all the difference to the lives of these animals.

Further Reading

- You can find out more on the RSPCA campaign by clicking here.
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