Jamie Oliver exposes pig farm cruelty but Australian pig farms worse
Sydney, 6 August 2009
Last night, Channel Ten aired Jamie Oliver’s confronting investigation into European pig farming. “Jamie Saves Our Bacon” delved into the issues surrounding pig rearing practices, and exposed the inhumane conditions in which pigs are farmed in parts of Europe.
The show graphically demonstrated the imprisoning sow stalls where breeding pigs are confined, unable to move for their entire lives. So horrific are the images of pigs in these stalls, in fact, that numerous European pig farms would not let the program film them. One farm’s PR representative even admitted that the sow stalls are offensive and that it was in the best interests of the company not to allow the show to broadcast footage of the pigs perpetually confined in them.
“As brutal as scenes from last night’s program were, the reality is that conditions in Australian intensive pig farms are much worse,” said Verna Simpson, HSI Director.
While the UK has already banned the use of restrictive sow stalls, and the EU is currently phasing them out in preparation for a ban to be implemented in 2013, they are common practice in Australia.
“The suffering inflicted on hundreds of thousands of pigs every year by the widespread use of sow stalls in Australia is indefensible,” said Ms Simpson. “The absence of aggression among pigs in free-range piggeries that allow pigs enough room to express their natural behaviours disproves the argument purported by the intensive pork industry that sow stalls are necessary to prevent aggression. Space is the answer to aggression – not sow stalls.”
Jamie Oliver noted in the program that just under 50% of breeding pigs in the UK are housed in outdoor systems. In Australia, this figure is less than 1%.
What's more, unlike the UK, Australian intensive piggeries are not required to supply straw for their pigs unless they are barn raised. The result is that the majority of pigs are raised indoors, in confined areas, on bare flooring.
“Intensive pig farms are environments of extreme brutality that are unfit for any living being,” said Ms Simpson. “Conditions in Australian intensive piggeries are especially appalling when compared with European standards, and as we saw last night, these are in and of themselves, fundamentally barbaric.”
Video footage has recently been released showing cases of extreme neglect, and severely distressed pigs, barely surviving in putrid conditions at two of Australia’s intensive pig farms. This footage can be viewed at: http://www.australianpigfarmers.com.au/archives
Both of these intensive operations have had animal cruelty charges laid against them.