Seven things you didn’t know about pig factory-farming


Across the world, pigs are amongst the most intensively farmed animals on the planet. They suffer at every stage of their lives. Most never even feel the earth beneath their feet.

Change is possible, we have real and tangible solutions to improve the lives of pigs. Leading pig producers are saying no to confining mother pigs in cages.

Globally, mother pigs are reared in intensive, barren factory farms where they are confined in steel cages - sow-stalls - for their entire pregnancy.

The majority of Australian mother pigs are spared this treatment because the pig industry is phasing out sow-stalls. They know that Australian consumers are concerned about animal welfare and want to see pigs raised right.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of information on product labels, those same consumers unknowingly buy pork products from countries where pigs are not raised to Australian standards and where sow-stalls are used.  

Here’s a few things you may not have known about pig factory-farming around the world;   

1. Most pigs raised for meat exist squashed together in barren, concrete pens, and mother pigs have no room to turn around or lie down comfortably. They will experience severe physical pain and psychological distress all their lives. 


2. In factory farms, piglets are ripped from their mothers at just three-weeks of age. Pigs are highly intelligent, charismatic and social animals. They can be as playful as a dog and as intelligent as a three-year-old child. Depriving them of social connections from such an early age has a devastating impact on their wellbeing. 


3. Due to chronic stress and boredom, pigs develop abnormal behaviours like biting the tails of other pigs in frustration. They will develop skin lesions, painful lameness, digestive problems and lung disease. This is no life for a pig.


4. Stressful overcrowding leads to the spread of infection, increasing the need for antibiotics as a band aid solution for low welfare farming. Massive overuse of antibiotics creates conditions ripe for superbugs: bacteria that cannot be treated with medicine. 1.3milllion people die from superbugs each year.


5. Agriculture is one of the biggest contributor to climate change of all industries, with factory farming playing a significant part. Factory farming pumps out huge volumes of cheap meat. Large amounts of feed and water are required, leading to deforestation and soil erosion. Factory farming also creates nitrate pollution; it’s bad for pigs and for our planet. 

6. A better way is possible. Around the world, higher welfare, cage-free systems are improving productivity, while providing a life worth living for pigs. 

7. You can help make a difference. We are empowering consumers to help drive change by telling supermarkets they need to shift to higher welfare pork. Supermarkets have a responsibility to ensure the producers they source pork from end close confinement and barren environments. It’s time to Raise Pigs Right.

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You won’t believe what Kate Blaszak, global farm animal advisor for World Animal Protection, discovered on her recent visit to a farm in Thailand.