Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International


. Updated: 17 December 2018


Pigs are incredibly playful, social, intelligent and curious animals. Despite popular belief, they are also naturally very clean animals; they will not defecate or urinate where they sleep and only roll in wet mud in order to cool down in hot weather, as well as to get rid of any pests they may have picked up. On intensive farms, they are kept in barren, dirty and crowded environments; conditions which cause the pigs severe frustration, stress and suffering.

The majority of sows throughout the US are confined in narrow stalls during their pregnancies, too small to even turn around in, with concrete or slatted floors. Sow stalls, as they are known, were banned in the UK in 1999, and also the EU in 2013; however, in the EU “farrowing crates” are still permitted one week before pregnancy up until piglet weaning at four weeks. Sows endure a great deal of distress as a result of being confined in these stalls and commonly suffer from lameness, sores and leg, hip and back problems due to constant struggling and rubbing against the bars. They also often exhibit a number of stereotypic behaviours, such as gnawing and biting on the bars of the stalls. Farrowing crates are designed to protect the piglets from being crushed by their mothers, a fear which is deemed unjustified by scientific studies. However, sows are unable to turn around or build nests, which is a natural maternal behaviour they need to express. The crates also inhibit contact which is so vital between a mother and her infants; the piglets are forced to suckle their mother through the gaps between the crate bars.

In the UK, most pigs, are intensively farmed indoors in barren and overcrowded pens. Tail docking, as well as teeth clipping is allowed if there is evidence that injury has been caused as a result of these measures not being taken. These procedures are done without anaesthetic. Some male piglets are also castrated without anaesthetic, so as to avoid the presence of a strong flavour in the meat of sexually mature male pigs.

Foraging, rooting and exploring are all natural behaviours of pigs, all of which they are deprived of in intensive farms.

At about six weeks of age, the piglets are transferred to rearing pens specifically for fattening


You can help pigs by adopting a plant-based, vegan diet.

© Animal Defenders International 2019