Action alert: help end the confinement of sows in gestation stalls!

Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs has been updated and released for public consultation. Although the codes of practice are voluntary, they have the potential to set the legal standard.

The draft code requires a phase-out of gestation crates—cages barely larger than the sow’s own body in which the animals spend their entire lives, unable to even turn around. However, 11 years is proposed for the phase-out, with a final target date of 2024. CETFA has been campaigning for a phase out date of 2017 (see our blog post for the reasons why: “Sow stall phase out: is 2022 good enough?“).

The draft code also includes a loophole allowing the pork industry to continue confining sows inside gestation crates for five weeks at a time—adding up to more than nine months of confinement during the sows’ four-year lives—even after the 2024 phase-out date. If gestation crates continue to be allowed in barns, it is highly unlikely that producers will comply with the maximum five week confinement restriction as it won’t be easily enforced.

Canadian sow in gestation crate. Photo: Dr. Olivier Berreville/CETFA

Canadian sow in gestation crate. Photo: Dr. Olivier Berreville/CETFA

Additionally, the draft code continues to allow piglets to be surgically castrated, even though alternative practices in European countries have proven this painful practice to be unnecessary.

Surgical castration of piglet.

Surgical castration of piglet.

(For a more complete review of the problems with the draft code, see our blog post: “Concerns with the revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs“.)

You can help change this by submitting comments on the draft code!

Here’s how:

Step 1: Click here to go to NFACC’s website.

Step 2: Select the red square titled “Click here to participate in the pig code of practice public comment period.”

Step 3: Fill out the survey. While the entire survey is lengthy and covers many issues, you can save time if you just want to focus on the issue of pig confinement by selecting “no comments on this section above” for most of the sections. When you get to section 1.1.3, please write in the “Comments” section that you don’t support allowing producers to confine pigs inside cages so small they can’t even turn around for any length of time and that the phase out should be completed by 2017. This should take you just two minutes. Go to section 4.5.1 to comment about the castration issue and require the surgical procedure be banned.

On behalf of Canada’s pigs—and pigs everywhere—thank you for taking a few minutes to lend your voice!