End Pig Farrowing Crates
The Crate Escape

The Crate Escape: a new campaign led by Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation to end pig farrowing crates

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation calls for a ban on farrowing crates which severely restrict the sow’s movement and her strong instinct to build a nest before giving birth.

pig farrowing the crate escape

We Call for a Complete Ban on Farrowing Crates

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation is calling for an end to pig farrowing crates without delay. Our most recent campaign in this area, The Crate Escape, launched in November 2022, is supported by a number of MPs including Anna Firth and Mark Francois, and other organisations Humane Society International UK and Compassion in World Farming. It is also a tribute to CAWF’s late Patron Sir David Amess MP, who introduced the Pig Husbandry (Farrowing) Bill to Parliament last year and spent years pushing for an end to the use of farrowing crates.

Mother pigs are unable to perform many natural behaviours, such as interacting with their piglets, rooting and nest building, or even to turn around. Studies consistently demonstrate that sows in farrowing crates experience much stress and suffering, and often endure physical injuries. Sows typically spend 22% of their adult breeding life (sows are crated one week prior to farrowing and produce around 2.3 litters per year) in these conditions. Many countries, including Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, have outlawed this practice, but still around 200,000 sows in the UK suffer in these systems every year (60% of UK sows).  

“The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) states that the minimum legislative requirement in Britain should be that all farmed animals have a life worth living. In farrowing crates, they clearly do not. This practice is unacceptable for a nation which prides itself on animal welfare standards.”

Mark Francois MP

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation is calling for Defra to launch a Consultation on ending farrowing crates. Join our call by writing to your local MP below.

The Farrowing Crate is a small metal cage in which pregnant sows are imprisoned for weeks on end, usually from a week before giving birth until their piglets are weaned three to four weeks later. She will be subjected to this roughly twice a year. The metal frame of the crate is just centimetres bigger than the sow’s body and severely restricts her movements. She is completely unable to turn around, can scarcely take a step forward or backward and frequently rubs against the bars when standing up and lying down. Beside her cage is a “creep” area  – for her piglets. The flooring is hard concrete and some form of heating, either mats or more commonly heatlamps, is used as a substitute for the warmth of their mother’s body.

Want to take action? Write to your local MP!

“I am delighted to support this important campaign today, and join calls to end the use of pig farrowing crates without delay. It is critical that we put the legislative wheels in motion as soon as possible by launching a Government consultation to outlaw this cruel practice. It is my hope that together we can free sows from a life largely spent behind bars, and ensure the UK does not fall behind other countries in this area.”

Anna Firth MP

We want to see if we could move towards a point where could start to phase out these methods of production.

Theresa Villiers

Banning Farrowing Crates – Transitioning to free farrowing to meet the welfare needs of pigs

CAWF: Ending Farrowing Crates Research Report

Latest End Pig Farrowing Crates
The Crate Escape News

Veterinary Record: ‘The UK must ban farrowing crates’

Dr. Steven McCulloch, head of research at the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, argues that the UK should ban the use of farrowing crates for pigs and the veterinary profession must provide its full support. Dr. Steven McCulloch is Senior Lecturer in Human-Animal Studies at the Centre for Animal Welfare, University of Winchester. Steven qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University.