Jamie Saves Our Bacon - The questions that you would like answered
Unlike the UK, Australian intensive producers do use sow stalls and Australia has no plans to ban them. They also use farrowing crates.
Unlike the UK, Australian intensive piggeries are not required to supply straw for their pigs unless they are barn raised.
Dont Sow Stalls Protect the Pigs from Aggression?
The environment in which the sows are kept is responsible for aggression. Pigs need space to escape confrontation but their confined conditions prevent them from doing so. The Australian Code of Practice only requires a space of 1.4 square metres for sows in group housing. The answer to aggression is not sow stalls, its give the sows some room.
Why Cant Pigs Mate Naturally?
Well, they can when they are free range. In fact, it is mandatory that certified free range farmers use natural matings.
The intensive industry uses artificial insemination for a few reasons, but one of those is that the sows cannot cope with natural matings because they are fragile as a result of the conditions they are raised under. Sows kept under factory farm conditions get no exercise and this makes them weak and incapable of standing for the boar and bearing his weight. Natural mating puts them at risk of injury.
Like the UK, the Australian intensive industry docks tails, but they also clip off teeth.
Tail biting occurs when piglets have no stimulation in their confined environment and they become bored. It can also be made worse when environmental conditions are bad e.g. bullying at the feed trough, wet dirty conditions. Tail biting is a rare occurrence on a free range pig farm because the piglets have plenty of room to play and carry out natural behaviours.
Certified Free Range farms do not tail dock.
Moisture Infused Pork
Jamie discussed pork chops that are only 89% pork and the remainder water, phosphates & sugar. We have the same product here in Australia and it is marketed as Moisture Infused.
Why is it hard to buy free range pork?
Free range pork is generally grown by family farms, not massed produced. Free range is more labour intensive and small farms just do not have the economy of scale that the intensive piggeries rely on. A free range producer must receive a premium for their product.
The lack of a legal definition for free range means that small producers are unable to differentiate their product from those within the industry that have chosen to take advantage of the lack of labelling laws and misleadingly brand their product as free range and undercut the genuine producer. The free range producer does not get support from industry in the development and marketing of their product as the large intensive producers do. Factory farms have been trading on people's ignorance about pig production systems. Consumer demand will see the free range industry grow. Start asking your butcher to stock it to encourage more farms to convert to free range.
Certified Free Range Pork farms;
- Do not use sow stalls or farrowing crates. Our pigs grow up outside, not inside sheds, barns or eco shelters.
- We do not tail dock or teeth clip. If castration is performed, it is done so with anesthetic.
- Our sows are mated naturally.
- Our pork is not infused with anything