COMMENTARY

Farrowing crates save lives
This pig farmer says that when it comes to animal welfare, experience is the best guide.

Posted February 10, 2005

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NF

Dear New Farm,

I am a pig farmer and I have 95 sows. I use all the Animal Welfare Institute guidelines with one exception. I use farrowing crates. I did not use them for the first 10 years; I thought they might be cruel. Boy, was I wrong. Instead of carrying out buckets of dead baby pigs, I now have a 95-98 percent survival rate. The sow only nests when she is in labor so it only a couple of hours until she settles down and gives birth. They don't go crazy, they just paw a bit and get up and down a lot, mostly to turn over. The sow can be removed when the babies are about four days to one week old and put in a pen or building with the babies, as they are now strong enough to get out of the sow’s way. Newborn pigs are very fragile and easily crushed, and it needs to be brought to everyone’s attention that we ask the crucial question of survival rates of babies in these ‘more natural’ systems. It seems nobody is looking at the real torture of the infant baby pigs. Well, I for one, am going to speak on behalf of the infant piglet and I will keep at it until somebody listens. Thank you for your participation in the animal welfare issue.

Sincerely,
Deanna Quan
Q-Bar Farm, SPF
Dayton, Oregon