Credit: Farm Transparency Project
A mother pig lays on her side in a farrowing crate in the dark, her piglets on the other side of the cage bars.

Help end cruel farrowing crates.

Most mother pigs in Australia suffer in farrowing crates. You can help change that.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated November 7, 2022

The reality inside Australian pig factory farms is that mother pigs cannot express their natural behaviours – they cannot do what pigs do. Sadly, this is ‘business as usual’ for pig farming in Australia.

More than 90% of pig farms in Australia use farrowing crates to confine pregnant and nursing mother pigs for up to six weeks at a time.

Although undeniably cruel to pigs, it is standard practice to transfer a mother pig to a farrowing crate 7-14 days before she gives birth to her piglets. After birthing (in a process known as ‘farrowing’), she remains confined in these metal ‘maternity’ crates for 3-4 weeks until her piglets are weaned – and then taken away.


This image contains content which some may find confronting

A mother pig in a farrowing crate, looking through the bars with sad eyes, her piglets on the other side of the barren cage.
This is not a ‘maternity ward’ – it is a harsh and unforgiving intensive farming system that is designed to maximise profits.
Image credit: Farm Transparency Project

Trapped in a farrowing crate, a mother can barely move

She can’t turn around and can only take one step forward or backwards. After she delivers her babies, she cannot act on her natural maternal instincts to care for them. Although she is naturally a very clean and conscientious mother, she is forced to toilet where she stands, causing her great stress.

In a natural environment, a mother pig will carefully build a soft nest of straw and grass for her babies. She will sing to them at mealtime, and at night, mum and babies would sleep nose-to-nose to bond.

But in a factory farm, just three weeks after having her babies, they are forcibly taken from her. Within weeks, she will be impregnated and the cycle will start again… until she is killed at only three or four years old.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A tiny piglet born into a farrowing crate, leans in the corner of the hard floor and cold bars.
In a farrowing crate, a mother cannot properly tend to her young. Mothers, and their piglets, deserve to live a life free from cages... free from suffering and free from slaughter.

This is not a ‘life’ worth living. Mother pigs and their babies should have space and the autonomy to satisfy their natural instincts to explore, bond, nest, and live as a family. Pigs deserve a life of freedom and a life where they can be valued for who they are, not as commodities in a food system.


There can be a better, kinder future for pigs

Henry the rescued pig was given a second chance at life when he was scooped up from a barren factory farm cage as a tiny, sick piglet, and taken to an animal sanctuary.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Henry the pig stands alongside a rescued goat -- in the background, other rescued animals are behind a gate at Brightside Farm Sanctuary.
Henry the pig with fellow rescued animals who were given a chance to live free from suffering and harm.

Now, he lives as all pigs should – along with his fellow rescued friends, he is free to roam on grass, sleep on soft hay, and socialise with the other animals who have been spared thanks to the compassionate souls at Brightside Farm Sanctuary.

Mother pigs and piglets need your help