Together we can improve the lives of sociable, intelligent pigs

Published on 11 January 2024

RSPCA Victoria believes there is great potential to improve the lives of Victoria’s farmed pigs, who are social and intelligent animals, and has made 18 recommendations to improve their welfare as part of its submission to the government’s inquiry into pig welfare.

The submission highlights longstanding animal welfare concerns in the pig farming industry, including close confinement, barren environments devoid of enrichment, and painful procedures performed on piglets and full-grown animals, sometimes without pain relief.

RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the inquiry.

“We believe good animal welfare must be inherent in farm animal production, and we’re committed to working with farming communities and other stakeholders to achieve these goals,” Dr Walker said.

“Pigs are intelligent, social animals who have the capacity to feel positive and negative emotions.

“We know the pig farming industry has made a lot of progress, but there are still things the government and the pork industry can do to really improve pig welfare significantly.

“We’ve made 18 recommendations to improve pig welfare in Victoria, including the introduction of minimum space requirements, legislating a ban on sow and boar stalls, and requiring slaughterhouses to regularly report on compliance.

“We believe some existing farming and husbandry practices in the pig industry are causing pain, injury, suffering or distress to thousands of animals.

“We’re strongly opposed to the continuation of harmful practices and are always willing to work with farmers and industries to guide best practice.

“Making many of these changes would bring our pork industry in line with other jurisdictions such as New Zealand, the UK and Canada, and better position the pork industry for a sustainable future at a time when animal welfare matters to many consumers.”

  • Good animal welfare encompasses providing animals with:
  • Good nutrition and health,
  • Suitable environments,
  • The ability to express innate behaviours, and
  • The opportunity to experience a good quality of life.

The RSPCA believes animal welfare in all farming systems must be regulated, meet all relevant animal welfare standards and guidelines, and be subject to regular and independent auditing to ensure the welfare of farm animals is not compromised.

For more information, visit RSPCA Knowledgebase here. Read the RSPCA’s submission to the inquiry here.

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