Coles Partners Pig Producers to Abolish Sow Stalls

by 5m Editor
19 March 2012, at 10:08am

AUSTRALIA - Coles supermarkets have moved to transform pork farming practices in South Australia to provide better conditions for pregnant sows.

As part of an industry leading commitment to improve farm welfare practices throughout the State, Coles has been working with pork farmers to phase out the use of sow stalls.

From today, Coles stores across South Australia will no longer stock fresh pork cuts from producers who use sow stalls to raise pigs.

Coles becomes the only major supermarket in SA to completely phase out sow stall reared fresh pork cuts and shift exclusively to sow stall free, outdoor reared and free range supplies. The changes in SA form part of Coles’ wider nationwide commitment to phase out the use of sow stalls for all of its fresh pork and pork products by 2015.

Coles South Australia General Manager Vito Borrello says the move has been prompted by customer feedback and supports the supermarket’s commitment to sustainable sourcing and welfare of livestock.

“Our customers have expressed concern about the use of sow stalls on pig farms, so we’ve made the decision to work with pork producers to completely phase out sow stall use in the supply chain,“ he said.

“Over the past year we’ve been working with our pork suppliers to facilitate the transition from sow stalls to a more humane environment where pigs are given freedom to roam in groups and express their full range of natural behaviours.

“The end result is that we’ve now implemented a system that will be better for our customers, better for our pork producers and better for pigs.“

Mr Borrello said while the Australian pork industry has agreed to voluntarily phase out the use of sow stalls – or gestation crates – by 2017, Coles has fast-tracked a ‘no sow stall’ policy.

“Coles is now the only major supermarket in SA to guarantee sow stall free pork,“ he said.

Mallee farmers Peter and Jenny are among Coles’ South Australian pork producers to have removed sow stalls from their farm. Peter says sow stalls were originally introduced as a management tool to keep pigs isolated from each other.

“Keeping sows in separate environments was important to minimise fighting and increase conception rates,“ said Peter.

“However it also meant that the space each animal had was restricted. In making this change, the pork industry is adopting different space and feeding designs, different bedding alternatives and learning more about group dynamics to cope with the removal of stalls.

“The industry is also researching methods to continue to improve the sow stall free environment.“

Peter and Jenny have been working with Coles for over 10 years and believe the industry’s move to a sow stall free environment is inevitable.

“With the voluntary phase out of sow stalls set down for 2017, we wanted to join with Coles and embrace the industry change ahead of time,“ said Peter.

“To make the change to sow stall free was a big commitment for our business and has been a long-term project with Coles, however we are very happy with the outcome.“

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