A voluntary initiative introduced by Australian pork producers to phase out the use of sow stalls on farm, has now been adopted and implemented by pig farmers who collectively account for almost 80 per cent of Australia’s sows, Andrew Spencer, CEO of Australian Pork Limited (APL) revealed at an Agribusiness Australia breakfast
With four out of every five Australian sows now loose housed-as well as a 91 per cent probability they will not be housed in sow stalls at any point in time between five days after mating and one week before farrowing-it marks a significant milestone for the producer-owned organisation in its pursuit to implement ever-more transparent and constantly improving industry practices.
Mr Spencer said the successful uptake of the voluntary initiative unique to Australia will now be followed by a review of Australia’s pig welfare standards and the mandatory phase out of all sow stalls on Australian pig farms.
“It has been extremely encouraging to see such a high level of compliance with our voluntary sow stall phase out initiative. Our producers have embraced the opportunity to shift their practices on farm forwards and adopt new and more transparent ways of working. We aimed to get the whole industry over the line on this one but being a voluntary initiative; I think the achievement is still one to be proud of.
“Interestingly, the proportion of sows housed in sow stalls at any point of time during pregnancy has also dropped to nine per cent and is continuing to fall. It’s just another indication of how our industry is embracing animal welfare improvements across the board,” Mr Spencer said.
APL’s sow stall phase out initiative is part of a wider drive by the organisation to become more transparent regarding industry practises and has also included the development of a new website detailing how Australian pork ends up on your fork.
These initiatives further “raise the curtain” on the pork industry by clearly explaining to Australian consumers how their pork is produced, while simultaneously helping show improved animal welfare on farm.
This is particularly critical for the Australian pork industry at present as it is currently battling an influx of foreign pork imports, the vast majority of which, come with little animal welfare oversight or quality control guarantees.
Mr Spencer also outlined this morning how as a producer owned Rural Research and Development Corporation (RDC), APL is urgently working with its producers, retailers, processors and wholesalers to ensure the market is as strong as it can be for domestic pork