How to choose a higher welfare Christmas ham

02/12/2019

If you choose to buy a ham this Christmas we’ve pulled together a guide to help you make a better choice for pigs and your family

With the ongoing crisis of African Swine Fever affecting the world’s pig population, it is more important than ever to know where your imported pork comes from

For many Australians, ham is a big part of their Christmas. However, some of the hams on Australian supermarket shelves come from countries that still keep mother pigs in cages.

Download your Christmas ham guide

 means the pork in the ham is from Australian farmers and likely to be higher welfare.

 means that there is no country of origin information on the product and the ham is likely from lower-welfare countries.

Where does your Christmas ham come from?

 
ALDI Specially Selected Premium Triple Smoked
Woolworths Home Brand Hams
Coles Home Brand Hams
Berg Deli (ALDI) Half Leg On The Bone
Berg Deli (ALDI) Leg Ham Portion On The Bone
Berg (ALDI) Maple Glazed Portion
Berg Deli (ALDI) Boneless Triple Smoked
Bertocchi Aussie Gold Pure Leg Ham
Bertocchi Authentic Leg Boneless
Bertocchi Festival Ham
Bertocchi Leg On Bone Quarter
Bertocchi Virginian Leg Boneless
Bertocchi Easy Cut Boneless
Bertocchi Supreme Gold Boneless
Bertocchi Semi Boneless Shoulder
Bertocchi Triple Hickory Boneless
Dandy Australian Leg
D’Orsogna Champagne Mini
D’Orsogna Honey Mini
D’Orsogna 100% Natural Leg
Tibaldi Off The Bone

In the US and Canada, most mother pigs are still kept in cages – sow stalls – for their entire pregnancy. Cages that are so small the mother pigs don’t even have enough room to turn around. That’s 119 days of pain, distress and boredom. It’s cruel, and it must end.

European countries are better: the rules say they can only keep mother pigs in cages for 28 days, and in some countries not at all.

Thankfully, Australian pig farmers are getting mother pigs out of cages. In 2010, the industry decided to end the use of cages for all but five days, and that now applies to up to 90% of Australian mother pigs. This commitment puts Australia ahead of most other pig-producing countries.

There’s still more to do. Even in Australia, pigs could be treated better. We’re working to see an end to unnecessary mutilations, more enriched environments, and we ultimately want to get mother pigs out of confinement after birth.

You deserve to know where your ham and bacon comes from

With the ongoing crisis of African Swine Fever affecting the world’s pig population, it is more important than ever to know where your imported pork comes from

The problem for shoppers who also want to avoid lower welfare pork products is our inadequate country of origin labelling.

Australian shoppers have no way of knowing if their ham and bacon came from a higher welfare Dutch farm, or an American farm where mother pigs suffer in cages for their entire pregnancy.

Some retailers are doing the right thing and going beyond the inadequate labelling laws to give consumers more information, such as Coles and Primo. But big players like Woolworths are not giving consumers the information they deserve.

We’ve investigated the Christmas hams on supermarket shelves and given a green ranking to Australian hams, and a red to hams which don’t have any country of origin information, which are likely to be from countries with lower welfare standards. Not providing this information to you and your family is unacceptable.

Send a clear message to the pig industry and major retailers that pig welfare matters to you.

(Header Image Credit: Thomas Alexander)