More misery for pigs

A report by government advisors has claimed no suitable alternatives to cruel farrowing crates exists, condemning mother pigs to a life confined. But the use of farrowing crates breaks New Zealand’s animal welfare laws, as the crates do not allow sows to express their normal behaviour.

Farrowing crates are cages used when mother pigs (sows) give birth and suckle their young. The crates are so small that the sows are unable to turn around for weeks at a time.  Like humans, pigs have strong maternal instincts. Given the chance, sows would lie with their babies in a nest, and even ‘sing’ to their piglets as they are suckling.

In nature, sows will nurse their babies for 17 weeks. In comparison, the life of a sow in a farrowing crate is deeply traumatic. Deprived of her freedom and the ability to express her natural instincts, the ‘song’ she would ‘sing’ to her piglets is replaced by deafening screams, as she is trapped in semi-darkness and unable to escape her misery. When just four weeks old, her piglets are taken away and the cycle begins again.

Farrowing crates are just as cruel as sow stalls, another cage so small that pigs were unable to turn around. The government ban on sow stalls came into force in 2015 on the grounds of cruelty, and now the same needs to be done for farrowing crates.


  • The time when it was ever acceptable to cage animals in cruel factory farms is over. Help get mother pigs out of cruel farrowing crates, send an email to Minister Nathan Guy now!
  • Watch to see footage of the cruelty of farrowing crates.

20 April 2016