The Conventional Farming of Pigs

The Conventional Farming of Pigs

Tam Kipping

The Conventional Farming of Pigs

When you think of pigs, do you think of muddy, smelly and lazy animals?

Strangely, pigs are largely mis-understood. More often they are social, intelligent and inquisitive animals. Pigs' natural instincts are to explore and forage.

These are characteristics of a happy pig. However, not all pigs are farmed with the same opportunities. 

The Current Issues

In current conventional farming methods, pigs are housed indoors and in close confinement, which restricts them from carrying out these natural behaviours.

Most sows (mother pigs), boars (male pigs) and growers (meat pigs) are housed on concrete slatted floors with no bedding. Sows are moved to farrowing crates to have their babies. These crates are designed to protect the piglet, however, they restrict the sow from moving around freely and building her nest - which is a natural instinct of the Sow after giving birth. These intensive farms are far more popular due to the ability to raise a large amount of pigs in a cost effective manner. 

These conventional systems limit the pig’s ability to perform natural instinctual behaviours which means that these clever and curious animals become bored, frustrated and distressed leading them to abnormal behaviours such as tail biting.

Not long after birth, piglets are subjected to tail docking, this is to prevent and manage the tail biting. They also have their sharp teeth extracted to reduce injury to the sow and other piglets. 

What Needs to Change

Farmers need to consider phasing out farrowing crates and instead create systems that allow for sows to move freely and create nests. These systems better address a sow and piglets behavioural and physiological needs. 

Giving pigs good housing and management is key in providing environmental enrichment. Pigs need an environment that offers opportunities to forage. Stimulation such as straw to chew should also be considered. This would cut out any need for farmers to need to consider barbaric measures such as tail docking and extracting teeth. 

Conventional processes along with poor housing conditions that don’t allow pigs freedom of movement, create concerns around animal welfare when farming pigs in Australia and the long term sustainability surrounding this.

Farming happy pasture-raised pigs as opposed to those that are stressed in less than adequate conditions can drastically affect the quality of pork that eventually ends up on our plate.  

Here at Sunshine Coast Organic Meats...

At Sunshine Coast Organic Meats we choose to source our pork from Gooralie Farm near Goondiwindi in the Darling Downs. 

Farmers Mark & Charisse Ladner chose to establish a free-range breeding herd to produce pork in a natural, outdoor environment. Gooralie Free-Range Pork is Free-Range in accordance with Australian Pork Limited’s (APL) APIQ Free Range Certification and RSPCA Guidelines. 

Keeping their pigs in a stress free environment allowing them to be “As happy as....” is why the quality and taste of their pork is superior.