Approximately 4.5 million pigs are slaughtered for human consumption in Australia each year (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 'Livestock' Year Book of Australia 2009-10).
Most pigs raised for human consumption in Australia are kept in cramped intensive piggeries. Their lives are, to quote Hobbes, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. They never experience the outdoors except for a brief moment at the end of their lives on the way to the slaughterhouse. Female breeding pigs, or 'sows', live in tiny single cages known as 'sow stalls' for the entire time they are pregnant (16 weeks). Sow stalls have metal bars and are so small the pregnant pig cannot turn around or stretch. The floors are hard with concrete or metal slats. Before she gives birth the pregnant pig is moved to an even smaller cage known as a 'farrowing crate', where again she is unable to move and her baby pigs are forced to suckle through the metal bars. Pigs are gentle and extremely intelligent – more so than dogs and even some primates.
While there are currently no pig factories in the ACT, there are intensive piggeries in nearby towns in NSW. The closest piggery to Canberra is known as Wally's Piggery, and is located just outside the ACT border in Murrumbateman NSW.
Animal Liberation ACT and NSW recently conducted an investigation into this intensive piggery. Damning footage and photos were taken revealing horrific conditions and brutal killing practices. The exposé resulted in a raid on the facility by the police, the NSW Food Authority, and the RSPCA.
You can see the footage from this piggery and other nearby piggeries at: Australian Pig Farming: The Inside Story. This powerful new website gives a chilling insight into pig farming right here in Australia. You can also sign a petition to have Wally’s Piggery shut down here.
Read Animal Liberation’s media releases about the investigations here.
Most of the conditions and practices shown in the footage are legal in jurisdictions across Australia. In 2011, the ACT Greens attempted to introduce a law that would ban the extremely cramped sow stalls and farrowing crates commonly used in intensive piggeries. Both the ACT Labor and Liberal parties voted against the Greens' proposed law and it was defeated. In 2012 the ACT Greens introduced another Bill proposing the same ban. The Bill (Animal Welfare Legislation (Factory Farming) Amendment Bill 2012) is currently awaiting debate.
Farrowing crate in an intensive piggery in Murrambateman NSW. See more photos here.