Ethical Farming Ireland is launching a new information awareness campaign to highlight the conditions of production pigs in Ireland, who are hidden out of sight in factories. There are over 1.6 million pigs here, but where are they all? The campaign will include social media and billboards.
Industry marketing alludes to rosy images of pigs happy out in green fields and sows mothering their piglets, but this is far from the truth.
The majority of production pigs in Ireland are hidden in factory farms, reared in pens which are overcrowded and barren, on fully slatted floors where they sleep, eat and defecate over slurry tanks that fill the air they breathe with toxic fumes.
New born piglets are mutilated by having their tails docked and teeth clipped within hours or days of birth. Tail biting is a huge problem as there is a lack of any kind of stimulation for these intelligent animals, leading to unacceptable health and welfare outcomes and psychological suffering.
Sows are incarcerated in restrictive cages for approximately 20 weeks every year for their few years of life. They cannot move other than stand up and lay down. They cannot nest build. They cannot get to their piglets. They cannot take a break from feeding the piglets. All they can do is chew the bars of the cage, which is stereotypical behaviour of a depressed and damaged mind.
Intensive farming increases profitability whilst removing natural environments meaning none of the innate behavioural requirement of the pigs are met. This intensification systematically breaches the EU Pig Directive, Irish statutory law and Bord Bia standards that laydown minimum requirements for the protection of pigs. Bord Bia Quality Assured labelling is granted to the majority of intensive piggeries in Ireland that do not meet even these basic standards. In November 2020 an EU audit was undertaken on the Irish Pig industry that found significant overcrowding, tail biting, tail docking and a plethora of related welfare deficits on these farms. Piggery inspections, monitoring and enforcement around mutilations and disease management were also found to be inadequate.
Pigs are intelligent, curious, sentient animals that need their welfare and inherent behavioural and psychological needs to be understood and met. They need to root and forage, they need space to manage the natural hierarchies, reduce aggression and competition, especially around feeding and trough space, with separate areas for eating, sleeping and toilet. This is denied them in factory farms.
Irish piggeries do not comply with the Five Freedoms, the basic standard that all animals are legally entitled to under the Animal Welfare Act 2013. These Five Freedoms form a comprehensive framework for safeguarding the welfare of animals. It is a life of misery and suffering for all.
All donations received will go towards the billboard campaign, social media advertising and other materials such as leaflets etc.
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