Farmers willing to abolish stalls
COORABELL pork farmer John Singh says if consumers do not want pigs farmed in sow stalls the industry is willing to adapt.
This week, supermarket giant Coles announced it would extend its phase-out – expected to be complete in 2014 – of supplying fresh pork grown on farms where sow stalls were used to include processed pork products such as ham and bacon.
Mr Singh said the move would be good for Australian pork producers because most imported pork products would not be able to meet Cole’s new requirements.
Australian pork farmers have been quick to respond to the consumer-led demand to abolish the use of stalls.
Sow stalls are used to keep sows separate in order to stop aggression.
Mr Singh said there were alternatives to the stalls which he had been using at one of his four piggeries for more than 10 years.
He houses small numbers of pigs in ‘eco-shelters,’ which are open structures with sawdust and straw strewn on the floor.
Mr Singh said by keeping them in small groups, aggression was not such a problem. He expects to have his other three piggeries converted to the system soon.
Australian Pork Limited chief executive Andrew Spencer has welcomed the Coles decision saying it would not disadvantage Australian pork producers.
“Aussie pork producers face a competitive disadvantage to their overseas counterparts over cheaper subsidised imports,” Mr Spencer said.
Coles merchandise director John Durkan said the company was progressively extending its animal welfare program to all major product groups, including pork, beef, chicken and fish.
“Coles is committed to ethical sourcing in our supply chain to meet increasing customer demand for best practice animal welfare standards,” Mr Durkan said.