Natural pig farming recognises the need of sentient beings to have space to move and choose where to lie. We design large open pens with low stocking densities. This allows the pigs to:
- exercise, play and explore
- sleep away from their toilet area (they decide where that might be)
- choose where to lie and which pigs they lie next to
- choose to toilet in a tightly defined area away from their living / lying area.
The results in:
- no aggression
- quiet, noise free sties
- clean pigs that do not have to sleep in their own excrement
- no pig vices (tail biting etc.)
- healthy pigs
In short, stress-free pigs that are happy in their environment. These healthy pigs eat well and grow fast.
The basis of factory farming is to raise as many pigs as possible for as low a cost as possible. To maximise the amount of pork produced the stocking density of pigs is absurdly high as pigs are crowded in small sterile pens that deprive them of any real space or freedom of movement. The mentality seems to be ‘if we can see the floor of the pen shove another pig in’.
This results in:
- chronic overcrowding
- forced sleeping on fecal floor
- stressed pigs
- increased aggression
- pig vices: tail biting, vulva biting, belly nosing
- high levels of pig sickness (a breeding ground for viruses that spread sickness quickly
- unhappy and unhealthy pigs!
Unfortunately these harsh stocking densities have been given European Union (EU) legislative backing, presumably on the basis that the stocking densities before such legislation was so bad even a modest increase would be better than nothing. Sadly, those passing the legislation swallowed whole- heartedly the morally corrupt premise of factory farming that to produce pork efficiently you need to squeeze as many pigs into a given space as possible. As a result pigs are kept in the cramped crowded conditions that no-one claiming to have pig welfare in mind would consider reasonable or conducive to the well-being of the pig. The photographs above say it all.
We would never stock pigs in the densities shown below but this is standard practice in today's factory farm systems. Does this look right to you?