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Canadian doubts about gestation crate bans

The Canadian Pork Council fears that cancelling the use of gestation crates could impair pig welfare rather than help it.

Florian Possberg, first vice president of the Canadian Pork Council and the CEO of Big Sky farms expressed his worries in an interview at Farmscape.ca.

"When I started producing hogs in 1975 all my sows were in group housed pens and we went to stalls because we really believed it was superior for the animals in terms of properly feeding the animals to meet their needs and to prevent aggression between animals and so on," he said.

Value
"We believed and still do that gestation stalls have a lot of value in terms of animal welfare," he continued

"The general public just doesn't accept that so there's some realities there.
Do we have alternative housing that is going to improve the welfare of our animals or are we going to end up seeing some compromises to the housing of our animals and the animal welfare reality?"

Changes should be made, he said, to enhance the animals' welfare and not for political reasons.

Phasing out

Last month both Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf decided to phase out gestation crates in their pig production sites. Smithfield decided to do so after years of studying had revealed that loose sow housing does not affect the sow's achievements.

In Europe, gestation crates have to be disappeared by January 1, 2013.

Related news items:

• Maple Leaf cancels sow gestation crates (2 Feb 2007)
• Smithfield ends use of gestation crates (26 Jan 2007)

Related websites:
• Smithfield Foods
• Maple Leaf

Editor PigProgress

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