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Facts - Australian Pig Farming: The Inside Story | Piggery, Pig Breeding, Sow Stalls, Farrowing Crates
An initiative by Aussie Farms and Animal Liberation ACT

Get the facts

Find out what really happens before the pigs become your breakfast, from sow stalls and farrowing crates to what's wrong with free range.


Pigs are incredibly social, curious and highly-intelligent animals. They communicate constantly with one another; more than 20 vocalizations have been identified that pigs use in different situations, from wooing mates to saying, "I'm hungry!" Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers' voices and to recognize their own names. Pigs are clean animals - if given sufficient space, they will be careful not to soil the area where they sleep or eat. Find out more about pigs...

General Practices

According to the industry, tail and teeth cutting without anaesthetic is performed to reduce tail biting between piglets and pigs, which is a common issue in all housing systems. The reality is that pigs are driven to tail biting due to the stressful, boring and overcrowded conditions they live in. These and other practices are legal and industry-standard, and can be found occurring in most pig farms across Australia. Find out more about the general practices...

Sow Stalls

Sow stalls are metal cages which female pigs are confined to after being mated (or serviced, as the industry refers to it) by a male pig (boar) or artificially inseminated. They remain in the stalls for 6-16 weeks. The stalls are barely large enough for a fully grown female pig to take a single step forward or backward, and they are unable to move sideways at all. The industry plans to continue using these stalls until 2017, claiming they will then reduce the time sows will remain in them to five days, though this won't be enforced or monitored. Find out more about sow stalls...

Farrowing Crates

Farrowing crates are a very well-kept industry secret. With all the focus on the hideous sow stalls not many consumers have been alerted to the fact that female pigs are actually confined to even smaller cages after giving birth to their babies. Evidence gathered by Animal Liberation activists shows farrowing sheds full of injured, sickly, dying or dead piglets (often in their crates next to their mothers) and injured female pigs. Find out more about farrowing crates...


In nature, sows would not only choose their mate and when to breed, but they would move to a private location, build a nest and prepare for their new arrivals. Viewed merely as 'bacon incubators' by the industry, these mothers are deprived of every natural experience. Boars (male pigs) used for the artificial insemination or mating with female pigs are often kept locked in cages similar to sow stalls, where the only times they are let out is to mate or for the bi-weekly exercise times which are mandated by the code of practice. Find out more about breeding...

Free Range Pig Farming

There is no legal framework decreeing what free range actually is, and pigs that are "born free range" are still raised in factory farms. Many "free range" pig farms still use farrowing crates and practices like tail cutting. Regardless of the conditions under which an animal is raised for food, they will end up in a slaughterhouse. Pigs want to live just as much as humans do, and do not give their lives up peacefully - they fight until their last agonising breath. Even those pigs raised with space and fresh air, are killed in the same manner that intensively farmed pigs are. Find out more about free range pig farming...