Sows’ welfare on the farm

You may recall what I wrote back in October, about pig welfare.

New European Union (EU) rules about pig welfare will come into force at the beginning of 2013. Those new rules include a ban on confining pregnant sows individually to stalls for most of their gestation. Instead, the sows are to be housed in groups.

The British Pig Executive (BPEX) says that this improvement in pig welfare will come at a cost. Of course it will. We consumers in Britain have got used to a difference between our own country’s pig-meat prices, and those from continental Europe, since sow stalls were banned in Britain a decade ago. Now there’s to be no such difference. Feed prices have been rising, too.

BPEX says that we can expect to pay more for pork, ham, bacon and sausages. You might like to scroll down the article I’ve just linked to. In the final paragraph, cunningly hard to find, you’ll see the words ‘copy of the report’ which are a link to what BPEX thinks of the ban on sow stalls.

Yes, it’ll cost. Decent welfare for farm animals can be pricey. But BPEX urges farmers keep rearing pigs.

I hope the pig farmers do keep going. Then we can carry on breakfasting like kings on our famous British bacon and eggs.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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3 Responses to Sows’ welfare on the farm

  1. Khle says:

    Very interesting 🙂

    • argylesock says:

      Yes, I’m delighted. There’s still a lot of propaganda about, claiming that ‘the farmers’ are cruel and that they expose animals to all kinds of disease. In some countries that may still be true and our British agriculture isn’t perfect, but BPEX is taking strides in the right direction.

      May I ask how you found my blog?

  2. Pingback: Stalling on sow stalls | Science on the Land

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