RSPCA Australia has congratulated the Australian pork industry for putting the welfare of its animals first, by spending $50 million to replace sow stalls.
Australian Pork has announced that, since 2010, pig producers have invested the money in on-farm changes to replace sow stalls for group housing, as a result of research and development and consumer sentiment.
According to Australian Pork, more than 70 per cent of Australian sows are now spending most of their pregnancies in group housing, with the industry aiming to have all sows out of stalls by 2018.
This constructive move to improve pig welfare is a great reason for Australians to buy Australian pork over imported products. About $10 million of imported pork products is sold in Australia each week, predominantly from countries which still use sow stalls.
The response of Australian Pork to ending the use of sow stalls is in stark contrast to its counterpart in the layer hen industry, the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) which continues to endorse the use of barren battery cages.
There are more than 11 million hens existing in battery cages, without the ability to perform normal behaviours including perching, nesting, ground-scratching, foraging, or even walking.
Consumers are voting with their wallets and demanding cage-free eggs. They should also demand that egg producers move away from conventional cage systems, which the industry states still constitute about 52 per cent of retail sales of eggs.
It’s time the egg industry put the welfare of the animals in its care first, and realised that evolution and improved transparency of the industry is inevitable.