Ontario could take a leadership rôle by being the first province in Canada to ban gestation crates (also called sow stalls) for pregnant pigs. Most breeding pigs are kept in crates that are barely bigger than the animal itself. They cannot turn around or lie down comfortably. They stand on concrete floors that are slatted to allow their waste to fall through to a pool of sewage below. They spend the four months of pregnancy in these crates, then are moved to farrowing crates to give birth and feed their babies through metal bars. Then they go back to the gestation crate to start the cycle again. Pigs are intelligent sensitive animals and are severely stressed by the conditions, biting on the bars and continuously rolling their heads. Several U.S. states have banned gestation crates as have Sweden and the UK. They are being phased out in Denmark, Australia and New Zealand and this year are being phased out after the fourth week of pregnancy in the other EU countries. Our province can put an aggressive plan in place to end this cruel practice by phasing gestation crates out completely by 2017.
Sow Stalls: A Mother's Worst Nightmare: