Australia’s pork producers have agreed to voluntarily phase out sow gestation stalls by 2017, ABC rural reported.
The industry claims it’s a world first, after a vote at annual general meeting of Australian Pork Limited (APL).
APL chief executive Andrew Spencer says removing the stalls will cost farmers up to AUD$95 million (€69 million), and there’ll be a round of meetings to brief state and federal agriculture ministers.
Spencer admitted there’s been ‘growing unrest among customers’ about the industry’s use of sow stalls. The industry says they protect pregnant pigs from fights, but animal welfare groups say they’re cruel.
“The vote demonstrates that the industry recognises the issue of gestation stalls has moved beyond the scientific argument of whether or not they are better for pigs,” Spencer said.
The decision is unlikely to satisfy animal welfare campaigners or supermarket chain Coles, which has refused to take pork from farms which confine pregnant sows in stalls after 2014.