7 June 2001
Europe-wide fight against sow stalls

By Isabel Davies

ANIMAL welfare campaigners have launched a campaign to introduce a complete ban on sow stalls throughout the European Union.

Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) has submitted what it describes as “shocking video evidence of suffering” to the EUs agriculture council.

The video shows footage of pigs in sow stalls shot on farms in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Ireland.

It also contains scenes of piglets being tail-docked without anaesthetic, even though this breaks EU regulations.

Peter Stevenson, political and legal director of CIWF, said he hoped the new evidence would persuade ministers to ban the sow-stall system.

“Due to lack of movement, these animals suffer serious health problems such as unhealthy hearts, lameness and weakened bones and muscles,” he said.

“We believe sows should either be kept outdoors or in groups indoors with plenty of space and straw.”

CIWF claim there is overwhelming public support for a ban on stalls and pig-farming practices such as tail docking and castration.

“Factory farming should not be allowed to continue compromising animal welfare,” said Mr Stevenson.

Sow stalls have already been banned in the UK and Sweden, but they remain legal in many other European countries.

Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark have introduced legislation to phase out stalls but it will not be implemented until 2006, 2008 and 2014 respectively.

Many British farmers claim that imports of pigmeat produced under conditions which are illegal in the UK amounts to unfair competition.

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