by Four Paws, Germany
Sows that are used in ultra-modern pig breeding for piglet production spend about half of their lives in body-sized metal cages, which the industry calls a “crate”.
This box stall is so small that the sow cannot turn around. As a result, the natural needs of the domestic pig cannot be met in the least.
The industry justifies this form of keeping with the aim of keeping the piglet’s death rate low. But it’s all about economy: producing as many pigs as possible in the shortest possible time, in the smallest possible space.
You can see what the life of a breeding sow looks like in this video:
Fertilized at 7 months
The sow is inseminated for the first time at around seven months. To do this, it is locked in the box stall in the “Deck Center”. The “intoxication” (phase of receptivity) is brought about by hormone injection. This way the sow can be inseminated artificially. After that, she stays in the crate for at least four weeks. The industry argues that pregnancy is more likely to be preserved.
Mother sows are treated like childbearing machines. Their life is an uninterrupted cycle of artificial insemination, pregnancy, birth, suckling time and renewed insemination, so that a sow gets piglets two to three times a year.
Giving birth and suckling in very tight spaces
The sow is brought to the “farrowing stall” about a week before the expected date of birth. There she is crammed into a metal cage for about 5 weeks (crate in the “farrowing pen”) in which she has to give birth to about ten to 20 piglets, which she sows there for about three to four weeks. The grid separates the mother from her piglets.
The piglets can reach the teats of the mother under the rods, but the mother cannot make loving contact with her piglets.
After the suckling phase, the sow is usually immediately brought back into the breeding center and into the pig cage again.
It is only during her pregnancy that she has to be kept in the group for a few weeks.
Piglets give birth until death
A sow goes through this “production cycle” until it no longer achieves the desired “rearing performance” of an average of about 30 piglets per year. Then she is slaughtered.
Most sows only survive this cycle for a few years. The natural life expectancy of pigs would be much higher.
The law situation
A ruling from 2015 states that the existing crate stands are much too small. They have not met the requirements of the husbandry regulation since 1992 and are therefore illegal. The housing regulation states that “pigs lying on their side must be able to extend their limbs undisturbed.”
Instead of finally ensuring that this requirement is implemented, the federal government wants to keep the illegal box-type booths in place for another 17 years. (!!!). This cruel form of animal husbandry should continue to be allowed after this. Only the time in which the sows can be fixed should be reduced.
Instead, legalize the crate
In order to make the illegal state legal, it is planned to simply delete the decisive sentence “that the pigs must be able to stretch their limbs in a lateral position without hindrance” from the regulation. Thus, a spoken court judgment is simply overridden.
FOUR PAWS launched an online protest in November 2019 and asked the heads of government of the federal states to speak out against a planned ordinance by Federal Minister Julia Klöckner.
With success: Over 100,000 protest emails prompted the federal states to submit numerous proposals for changes to the draft.
four paws demand:
-A ban on keeping sows in crates, both in the deck area and in the farrowing area
Free farrowing systems (with protection against piglet crush), in which the sow can build, move and turn around as well as establish social contact with her piglets
– Limitation of an individual fixation to an absolute minimum (by the hour), e.g. for treatment purposes
– Long straw always available as nesting material in the farrowing area before the days of birth
– Roughage available at all times to feed and keep sows busy (in the deck, waiting and farrowing area)
– Group keeping of sows, stable group composition
– Sufficient space for free movement and for structuring the bay
– Scattered, soft lying areas and delimited relaxation areas
– Exclusive use of sows that give birth to on average only as many piglets as they can suckle (average number of piglets per litter must not exceed the number of teats)
The widespread protest by over 20 animal and environmental protection organizations has led to the postponement of the vote in the Federal Council that was originally planned for December. The new schedule provides that the Federal Council will vote on February 14th.
Demand now to reject this regulation and to finally abolish crate stands!
Joint petition from:
Albert Schweitzer Foundation for Our Fellowship
Animal Equality Germany e. V.
Bundesverband Tierschutz e. V.
Compassion in World Farming
PROVIEH e. V.
FOUR PAWS – Foundation for Animal Welfare
My comment: According to the draft in the crate, the maximum permissible fixation period for sows is to be reduced from the current 35 days to eight days in the breeding center and to five days in the farrowing area.
Both in the deck center and in the farrowing area, the minimum length of the crate should be 220 cm in the future instead of the previous 200 cm.
These are the changes in the so-called “box stands for sows”, which are supposed to happen in our banana republic in 17 years, and are accompanied by an outrageous lobby quote from a corrupt agriculture minister:
“With our draft regulation, we are creating more space and animal welfare in the barn.
Implementing the measures at short notice would not be feasible, especially for small businesses. We want to keep production with us in Germany; only here can we influence the conditions,” (Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner).
I recently received a message from the Albert Schweizer Foundation saying: More than 160 other associations from the “End the Cage Age” alliance have now sent an open letter to the new head of the EU Commission. In it, the appellants appeal to Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides and Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski to take progress and listen to the concerns of Europeans.
The EU must not lag behind in animal welfare issues, but must set the tone. This also means: Abolish cage keeping “.
Does the EU have to set the tone?
And when did the EU do something good for animals?
And when did the EU respect a million citizens’ initiative?
Why do we still have animal transports for days or weeks?
Why do we still have chick shredders?
Piglet castrations without anesthesia?
And now we have the new horror plans of a corrupt minister for the extension of the sow boxes for another 17 years.
Is anyone who still believes in an EU decision to end cage ages?
Is anyone who still wants to keep and pay for this corrupt and useless EU gang?
My best regards to all, Venus