There are several different housing systems for pigs including intensive indoor systems, barns and free-range. Approximately 90% of pork consumed in Australia today is intensively raised in indoor systems. Traditionally, sows in intensive systems were confined in metal cages (2m x 60cm also known as sow stalls or gestation crates) for weeks to months after being mated or artificially inseminated. Then, in an attempt to reduce the accidental crushing of piglets by the sow, the sow is confined to a farrowing (birthing) crate. Many sows in intensive systems go for long periods deprived of bedding material or the opportunity to socialise normally with other pigs. In 2016, Australian Pork Limited announced that sow stalls will be phased out by late 2017. The RSPCA supports the phase out of sow stalls and also advocates for the use of more animal welfare friendly farrowing systems.

For more information on pig housing visit the RSPCA Knowledgebase.

Click here for the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for Pigs.