The rearing in the view of animal protection
If piglets are in freedom, they are 4 months next to their mother. First abroad the group and afterwards in a group, there exists an intimate connection between mother and children. Piglets learn much from their mother and being social.
It is not the same if pigs are kept in an intensive holding. Right after 3 to 4 weeks piglets are separated from their mother and go to the so called pre-mast. In this period and later in the end-mast they are in groups. Just being one month old, the little pigs have to care for themselves. Before that the mother was next to them, but had no opportunity to help them, to sniff, to lick or to snuggle them.
But what about the further life in the mast?
Full slatted floor:
Full slatted floors are extreme practically – at the same time they act as a dunging. Excrementals and urines shall flow through the slatted floors or kicked though it. Directly under the floors the excrementals are collected in a canal. That is en extreme burden for the fine nose of the pigs. The nose of pigs is as sensible as the nose of dogs, nobody in Austria would treat his dog like this. But pigs are an exception.
A further burden on those full slatted floors is the development of dangerous gases (ammonia gas). The whole time pigs have to breathe these gases. They often get an inflammation of their air ways. 85,5% of mast pigs in Austria live on full slatted floors!
Material for occupation
Normally there should be laws to give materials for occupation, so that the intelligent pigs get something to play (especially important for piglets). But many factories do not offer those materials. As human children like to play, also little pigs like to play. But with what, when there are only naked slatted floors? The consequence is, that farrows often occupy with the tails, ears or the flanks of their fellow sufferers. Not less they bite in the body parts, it can degenerate to cannibalism.
To avoid that, the tails are often cut in the first days of piglet-life. Without anaesthesia, pain killer or aftercare this painful procedure is done by the farmer. Although this is not allowed as a preventive method, it is a routine method in Austria. But pigs also bite in short tails, because they are bored.
Nowadays some factories offer materials for occupation, mostly iron chains or wooden stacks. But pigs are very intelligent, soon they will being bored because the toys are not changeable. The best material would be organic material, e.g. straw. Pigs can dig into the straw, build a nest, eat and nosh it. But straw is not compatible with the full slatted floors, they will get choked, so most factories do not use straw. Economic efficiency is more important than animal welfare.
98,7% of mast pigs are living without straw litter!
80,3% of all pigs do not have any material for occupation!
A further problem in the mast is the little space. The lawful space is 0,7m² for a pig of 110kg, that is laughable: if a pig of 110kg lies down and stretches its legs, it needs 1m². Pigs in freedom use three spaces: a sleeping berth, a place for excrementals and space where they can busy with foraging and ingestion. Pigs in intensive holding do not have this. They have only little space where they must sleep, eat and go to toilet!
Animals which are in a mast, get many medicine, otherwise they would not survive the intensive holding. The stench, the building of ammonia gases because of excrementals, that are inhaled the whole time, causes inflammation of air ways. They cough, catch a cold, some pigs even get asthma. Only while getting medicaments the animals are able do live.
All factories give medicine to their pigs! Pigs – also X 15 – have to live under these disastrous conditions, until they reach their slaughter.