Tasmania to phase out sow stalls

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 10th June 2010

Tasmania will phase out sow stalls for pigs, with the first restrictions taking effect in 2014, said Minister for Primary Industries Bryan Green today.

The move follows a recommendation last month by the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee for the change, including a full ban by July 2017.

“It is clear, even in the 2003 edition of the national code, that the use of sow stalls had to be reduced,” said Green.

“It is true, however, that this decision will impose a burden of enforced change on those producers who currently still use sow stalls, and I would not impose that burden if I did not think it was necessary both from an animal welfare perspective and from the point of view of the pork industry in Tasmania,” he added.

According to Green, the ban will put Tasmania ahead of the rest of the country in animal welfare.

“I acknowledge there is a national approach to animal welfare standards in regard to sow stalls but the State Government accepted those as minimum requirements and made it clear it reserved the right to implement more rigorous standards in Tasmania.”

Community reaction to the sow stalls has been strong, after a report last year on ABC’s Stateline revealed animals living in horrific conditions in a Tasmanian piggery, the owner of which was later charged.

In intensive pig farming, pregnant pigs are confined to sow stalls, also known as gestation crates, to make feed management easier and prevent the pigs from biting each other. The stalls are around the same size as the pig, limiting movement.