Thai supermarket chain pledges to end sow confinement

Tops Market, a Thai supermarket chain, pledges “full support“ for World Animal Protection’s Raise Pigs Right campaign as global momentum builds
calendar icon 22 August 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

The retailer has committed to sourcing 100% of pork sold in its stores from farms that do not cage pregnant pigs, by 2027.

This industry-leading commitment follows World Animal Protection’s petition, launched in April as part of the global Raise Pigs Right campaign, calling on supermarkets across the world to end the use of stalls or cages for pregnant pigs in its supply chain. The development will transform the lives of thousands of gilts and sows each year by keeping them in groups with enrichment to satisfy natural behaviour.

This positive development comes following the news that America’s largest national supermarket chain, Kroger, committed to end the use of cages for pregnant pigs in its fresh pork supply by 2025 earlier this month. Over 72,000 people signed a World Animal Protection petition calling for action, showing that consumers around the world want to see real changes for the welfare of animals.

Jacqui Mills, Global head of farming for World Animal Protection, said: “We are delighted that Tops Market has listened to the public and pledged full support for the Raise Pigs Right campaign. This is a first for Thailand and we are now starting to see supermarkets in different parts of the world take steps to ensure pigs are raised right. Mother pigs in cages suffer terribly, but we have worked with large pig producers in Thailand and elsewhere to show that a more humane way to raise pigs is viable.

“We urge other supermarkets to join Tops Market’s and Kroger’s approach by phasing out pregnancy cages for pigs as a first step towards supporting higher welfare pig farming.”

Tops Market, owned by Thai retail giant, Central Food Retail, operates 109 stores in Thailand, and the commitment will also apply to all Central Food Hall stores in Thailand.

World Animal Protection has worked with large pig production companies in Thailand and elsewhere to get pigs out of cages and into groups with opportunities for them to express natural behaviour. In September 2017, Thailand’s largest pork producer, Betagro Group, committed to ending close confinement of pregnant and lactating pigs by 2027. Earlier this year, global food giant CP Foods announced it would end close confinement of pregnant pigs by 2025 in Thailand and 2028 globally following engagement with World Animal Protection.

Humane farming is good for animals, good for people, and good for business. Good animal welfare practices reduce stress, injury and disease, decreasing the overuse of antibiotics.

World Animal Protection’s global Raise Pigs Right campaign is calling on the world’s supermarkets to end close confinement, barren environments and mutilations of pigs in their supply by introducing higher welfare sourcing policies for pork.

To learn more about World Animal Protection’s Raise Pigs Right campaign and how you can take steps to improving welfare in your herd, click here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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