Recently, Australia’s pork producers announced results from an interim survey which shows that over 60 percent of sows are now housed in what the group defines as “gestation stall-free," housing.
Australian Pork Limited defines “gestation stall-free” as meaning a sow would spend up to 5 days in a mating stall to stabilize pregnancy and would be moved into a farrowing crate or birthing stall, up to a week before due to give birth, according to reports on Meatingplace.com. The group said this would result in pregnant sows spending a maximum of 10 percent of their total pregnancy individually confined.
Australian Pork Limited Chief Executive Officer Andrew Spencer in a recent speech called the housing transition “a world leading initiative, boosting Australia’s animal welfare credentials globally. He also noted that the shift involved “millions of dollars of investment in research and development with estimates of well over $50 million to complete this change made voluntarily by farmers.”
Still, the Australian hog industry is plagued by activist actions.
In the Meatingplace.com story, Spencer noted that the Australian pork industry has been impacted by high profile campaigns from anti farming groups that have misled consumers. Tactics, including farm invasions, have been implemented under the guise of protecting animal welfare. He also said if animal welfare is the true motivation for these groups then they should be supporting Australian farmers in implementing their world-leading initiative.
Spencer said communication goals for Australian hog farmers also include explaining industry leadership on environmental initiatives including managing byproducts and reducing carbon emissions as well as the positive impact this has on production costs.
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