Protest against stalls, farmers urged
By FWi staff
FARMERS have been asked to join a campaign by a livestock welfare group to have sow stalls banned throughout the European Union.
On Wednesday (06 Sep) Compassion in World Farming launched a video which it say s exposes horrendous conditions in which sows are kept on the Continent.
The stall system has been banned in the UK since 1999, leading producers to claim they are placed at a financial disadvantage to less welfare-friendly rivals.
A copy of the video will be sent to European consumer affairs commissioner David Byrne and further launches will take place across Europe.
CIWF wants UK producers to play an active part in its campaign calling for proposed new European pig welfare laws to ban the system.
CIWF director Joyce DSilva said: Farmers can write direct to David Byrne or their MEPs, or get their unions to lobby for more humane conditions for sows.
The CIWF video was filmed by undercover investigators in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Ireland.
It is said to show sows kept in tiny metal-barred stalls, so narrow they cannot even turn round.
Stalls are often filthy and sows are given no straw or other bedding, instead being forced to lie on bare concrete and slatted floors.
We have had a lot of interest in this video and suspect a lot of people will be shocked to discover that animals are kept in such conditions, said Ms DSilva.
Ms DSilva said she was not unoptimistic that the EU would outlaw sow stalls as some farm ministers notably from Sweden and Italy favoured a ban.
However while pleased sow stalls are not used in Britain, CIWF is critical of the practice of tail docking and the use of farrowing crates in the UK.
- WTO a threat to animal welfare, FWi, 18 November 1999
- Imports soar as UK tightens pig welfare, FWi, 12 November 1999
- MAFF acts on foreign pig welfare, FWi, 15 October 1999
- No cash for sow stall conversions, FWi, 11 October 1996