Global supermarkets risk losing customers without improved pig welfare

April 18 2018

Pigs are among the most intensively farmed animals on the planet, and are suffering at every stage of their lives. Take the pledge and urge supermarkets to act now

We’re calling for global, household names such as Walmart, Tesco (UK) and Carrefour (France) to source pork from high welfare farms, or risk losing customers.

As demand for cheap pork continues to grow around the world, factory farming is working animals harder than ever.

Mother pigs are kept in cages, unable to turn around or socialize. Mother pigs can experience abnormal behavior like bar biting when confined to these types of barren environments, and are constantly bored.

These are some of the cruel factory-farming practices that lead to lifelong suffering of pigs:

  • Three out of four mother pigs live in cages. Many of these pigs spend their lives in steel cages no bigger than a fridge, and are unable to turn around
  • They’re used as breeding machines, and their piglets are taken away just a few weeks after birth
  • Piglets are cruelly mutilated, often with no pain relief: their tails are cut, their teeth are ground or clipped, their ears are notched and most male piglets are castrated
  • Pigs are squashed together in dark, squalid warehouses, and are forced to lie in their own waste. These cramped, stressful conditions are the perfect breeding ground for infection, which leads to routine, indiscriminate use of antibiotics

People care about pigs

Earlier this year, a series of international surveys revealed that 89% of supermarket shoppers would be willing to change where they shop if a supermarket commits to improving the lives of pigs.

A mother pig in enriched group housing. She has access to straw, which mother pigs love to to play with, root, and eat. The mother pigs here are calm and accustomed to being in proximity to humans. They have ear tags in order to identify them individually, these tags are normally used for electronic feeders.

We also found:

  • Eight out of ten people in the US were concerned after seeing the realities of commercial farming
  • Seven out of ten people internationally believe the way factory farmed pigs are kept is "upsetting," "wrong" and "shocking"
  • 89% of US shoppers think that supermarkets have a responsibility to source pork from higher welfare standards – and that responsibility also applies to pigs reared overseas as well as in the US
  • 85% of people in China are willing to change where they shop and buy from supermarkets that commit to improving the lives of pigs instead
  • And eight out of ten people in Brazil, Thailand and Australia are concerned about the human health impact of routine use of antibiotics in farm animals

Supermarkets must act

We’re calling on big supermarket brands around the world, such as, Tesco, Walmart and Carrefour to lead the way in raising pigs right.

Pigs in a pen. A toy (at the back) is not sufficient enrichment as pigs need more manipulable, edible and rootable materials. The pig on the right has tail docked, which is a bad practice.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We need to see an end to close confinement and barren environments, so pigs can live in social groups in comfortable environments with opportunities to express natural behavior," said our CEO, Steve McIvor.

“Supermarkets hold the power to create better lives for pigs. We are encouraging customers of leading supermarkets to let them know they expect higher welfare standards for pork products, with the guarantee that pigs are raised right.”

Take the pledge for pigs

You can help end this needless suffering.

Take the pledge now and demand supermarkets make a promise to sell pork from pigs that have been raised right.

89% of US shoppers think that supermarkets have a responsibility to source pork from higher welfare standards – and that responsibility also applies to pigs reared overseas as well as in the US.
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