Postcard Warning on Sow Stalls for Italy

15 October 2012, at 10:21am

ITALY - Representatives from Compassion in World Farming, accompanied by “protesting pigs“, have visited the Italian State Tourist Board in London to deliver a giant postcard, as a warning for Italy’s Tourism Minister Piero Gnudi.

The postcard tells the Minister that Italy risks damaging its reputation with British tourists for failing to adhere to the upcoming ban on sow stalls in the EU. Staff at the state tourist board office refused to accept the card, saying they were only there to promote the positive side of Italy.

Sow stalls will be banned except for the first four weeks of pregnancy, across the EU from January 2013. However, information obtained from the European Commission suggests that Italy will go into the New Year with sows still imprisoned in stalls so small, they cannot turn around.

Compassion is sending a warning to Italy, that its refusal to release figures detailing how poorly the country is doing in releasing sows from sow stalls will leave a bad taste in the mouths of tourists from other European countries.

Annamaria Pisapia, the head of Compassion’s Italian office, says: “We delivered this postcard today because we want Mr Gnudi, and the Government he’s part of, to understand Italy’s reputation in the eyes of other Europeans will be damaged by its behaviour over the sow stall ban.

“Italy has already dented its reputation in this area by its abject failure to implement the EU barren battery cage ban in time, which came into force on 1 January this year.

“The country is proud of its reputation for excellent cuisine but a good plate of food starts with a life worth living for the animals that are reared to produce that food. For a sow producing piglets that are raised for ham and other pork products for Italian homes, restaurants and export around the world, life in a sow stall is not a life worth living.

“Visitors to Italy might think twice about sampling some of our famed produce if they know there are cruel and soon to be illegal systems in place on Italian pig farms."

Three Compassion activists dressed as pigs and carrying placards accompanied Annamaria and Compassion’s Campaign Manager Oliver Newham, as they delivered the postcard.

Compassion is calling on Italy to publish figures showing how many farms will be unable to comply with the new rules in 2013 and to commit to an action plan to make sure its farms obey European rules which were first agreed in 2001.

Italy is thought to be one of the worst offenders in terms of the number of sows likely to still be in sow stalls come 2013 but other nations are also likely to miss the deadline, said CIWF.

The latest data obtained by Compassion from the European Commission suggests eight other EU member states are unlikely to comply: Austria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia.