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Pigs are intelligent, social animals – like their wild relatives, pigs love to explore and “root” around.
Pigs raised for food are normally kept inside on concrete floors and in confining pens causing extreme stress and frustration. Sows (female pigs) are kept in the most confining pens (called “gestation stalls” and “farrowing crates”) for the majority of their lives. They can lie down, stand up or sit, and may be able to walk a few steps forward and back. However, they typically do not have enough room to turn around or to engage in natural behaviours that are important to them.
Gestation stalls are a popular choice as they allow for increased control over individual feed intake and can prevent aggression between sows. Farrowing crates are used to restrict the movement of the sow after she has given birth to her litter, in order to protect newborn piglets from being crushed when a sow lies down unexpectedly.
In these systems, sows are deprived of the ability to express important natural behaviours that they are highly motivated to perform such as roaming, rooting, digging, building nests and interacting with other animals.
As a founding member of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), the CFHS is working to improve conditions on Canadian farms. Through our leadership role on the Council, we’ve already improved the lives of millions of dairy cows in Canada, but we need your help to improve the lives of even more animals.
You may not know that we are the only animal welfare voice at the negotiating table and we can only make a difference with the support of Canadians like you…people who demand a more humane food supply and a more humane Canada.
There are many things you can do, including speaking to your retailer where you purchase your meats. Ask where your food is coming from and find out what the retailer is doing to ensure that it was raised humanely. You can also choose to support businesses that have already done that research for you.
There are also more and more national food chains moving towards humanely raised food ingredients.
You can also support our work at the negotiating table by donating to our farm animal program. Click here to donate
We thank our member society, the BC SPCA for allowing us to include this information and their factsheets on our website.
Watch this video to see how the vast majority of sows in Canada are housed (from Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals)Print this page