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Thousands of SA pigs 'behind bars'

04 February 2013, 12:01

South African pig farmers have thousands of female pigs trapped in metal crates.

Compassion in World Farming (SA) is trying to free 60 000 pigs from the confines of their cramped metal cages. The organisation has been negotiating with SA Pork Producers for a long time to find a more humane way of keeping these animals.

The practice of keeping pigs ‘locked up’ in metal stalls has been banned the world over.

Pork producers keep sows caged up in rows of breeding stalls to streamline the production process. This kind of layout is similar to an industrial plant where units get manufactured. The only difference is it is made up of row on row of immobile breeding animals. The purpose is to produce as many piglets as possible during the sow’s lifetime. After being weaned the piglets are raised and sold to the meat market, where they get processed into the pork products that we buy in our supermarkets.

After every litter the sow is inseminated again to maintain the production line. She will produce roughly 150 piglets in her lifetime to supply South Africa with bacon and ham.

The practice of keeping female pigs trapped in tiny cages for production purposes is widely criticised for its cruelty. The stalls do not provide enough room for the pigs to move or turn around. They spend their whole life in this small space, leading to tormented behavioural patterns such as incessant chewing of the metal bars.

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