Animal welfare charity OneKind is urging the Scottish government to uphold its commitment to consult on a phase out to cruel farrowing crates for pigs in Scotland.
OneKind: standing up for pigs
The Scottish government has committed to consult this year on phasing out cages for laying hens and gamebirds. However, the consultation will not include farrowing crates for mother pigs. This is despite the government’s previous Programme for Government commitment to consult on phasing out the use of farrowing crates.
The charity spent two days petitioning the Scottish parliament at Holyrood over the issue. It included a model life-size farrowing crate to encourage MSPs to ‘Stand Up for Pigs’ by calling on the Scottish government to consult as soon as possible on this, and by supporting policy measures that would incentivise and support farmers to transition to higher welfare systems.
OneKind set up tent in Holyrood on 30 January:
Specifically, the life-size crate demonstrated the unspeakable conditions mothering pigs have to endure:
Plenty of MSPs were happy to lend their support to OneKind’s campaign:
Scottish government: a ‘terrible cruelty’ that should “not be tolerated”
OneKind’s director Bob Elliot said:
Farrowing crates are terribly cruel and strip the mother pig of her ability to carry out natural behaviours or bond with her piglets.
In the UK, most sows are kept indoors and endure multiple pregnancies during their miserable lives. A pregnant sow is placed in a crate shortly before giving birth and remains in this restrictive cage for up to 5 weeks or more. She can struggle to stand up and is completely unable to turn around. The crate is barely bigger than her own body.
She cannot interact with, let alone care for, her piglets, beyond allowing them to suckle through the bars.
Such deprivation should not be tolerated in the 21st century.
On the support for a ban, Bob continued:
The majority of Scots support an end to the use of farrowing crates and 63% support the government assisting farmers to move from using farrowing crates to cage-free methods.* Pig farmer producers in Scotland have also expressed willingness to phase out the use of farrowing crates if that transition is well planned, and they are supported to do so.
The Scottish government must not let Scots down. They must uphold their commitment to consult on the phase out of cruel farrowing crates for pigs.
Farmed animals deserve the same consideration we give our beloved cats and dogs. The very least we can do is stop confining them to cages.
You can get involved with OneKind’s campaign by writing a letter to the Scottish government here.
Feature image via OneKind