Learn about Pigs

Pigs are incredibly social, curious and highly-intelligent animals, who want to live just as much as we do.  Find out facts about pigs and how they are farmed in Australia through our series of non graphic videos.

Facts about pigs – Video Transcript

Did you know?

  • Pigs communicate with one another using more than 20 different vocalizations!

  • Pigs are clean animals, if given sufficient space, they will be careful not to soil the area where they sleep or eat.

  • Sows will build nests from their surrounding environment.

  • Piglets learn to run to their mother’s voices and to recognize their own names.

  • Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing.

  • Pigs intelligence has been measured as being higher than dogs and even three-year-old humans.

  • Pigs have a good sense of direction and have found their way home over great distances.

  • Pigs can run at speeds of up to 17 kilometers an hour

  • Pigs are unable to sweat and so to keep cool they like to bathe in water or mud, preferring water to mud.

  • Pigs are incredibly social, curious and highly intelligent animals who want to live just as much as we do.

Standard practices for Sows in the Australian Pig Farming Industry – Video Transcript


When we think about pork or bacon most of us don’t spare a though for the individual animals behind the product.  The reality is 95% of pig products produced in Australia come from intensively farmed pigs.

Sows are adult female pigs used in pig farming for breeding.


Once a Sow has been impregnated she is moved to a Sow Stall. Sow stalls are metal cages which female pigs are confined to after being mated.  Although there has been a widely publicized “ban” on Sow stalls, in reality this is only a voluntary phase out and is not monitored or policed.  As such, Sows may still be confined in the stalls for up to the full duration of their pregnancy (16 weeks).  The stalls are barely large enough for a fully grown female pig to take a single step forward or backward and they are unable to move sideways at all. 


If the voluntary phase out is adhered to Sows will be kept in larger pens with other pregnant sows – this is called Group Housing. In this type of housing, Sows are still confined in concrete and metal pens.  She will have no opportunity to root, build a nest for her young, wallow or explore the world.


With all the focus on sow stalls not many consumers are aware of the fact that regardless of how a sow is kept during her pregnancy at around one week prior to giving birth she will be confined to an even smaller cage known as a farrowing crate.  This is where she will remain for approximately six weeks.   Her piglets will be taken and moved to a weaner pen and the cycle of impregnation will start over again until her body is no longer able to produce viable piglets, at which point she will be sent for slaughter.  This usually occurs by the time a Sow is just three years old.


Denied every thing a pig holds dear, friendship, family, freedom, her body is exploited and her life taken.


Spare a Sow a lifetime of suffering and leave pig products off your plate.

Aussie Pig Farming Standard Practices for Piglets – Video Transcript


We know pigs are smart, cute and affectionate beings, but what do we know about what life is like for piglets in Australia?


The reality is that 95% of pig products come from intensively farmed pigs.


Ear cutting, or “notching”, is carried out as a method to identify pigs and piglets.  This procedure occurs without anesthetic and involves cutting off pieces of piglets’ ears in the first few days of life.


According to the industry, tail cutting, where piglets tails are cut off, is performed to reduce tail biting between pigs.  Even without their tails, tail biting remains a common issue in all housing systems.  The reality is that pigs are driven to tail biting due to the stressful, boring, overcrowded, confined conditions they live in.


Piglets have their teeth cut in order not to damage their mother’s teats.  Once again this behavior occurs due to the conditions the pigs live in.  In natural conditions a mother pig would be able to move away or push her piglets away if they were causing her pain or discomfort.  In the Australian pig industry, 95% of mother pigs are kept in farrowing crates where they are unable to turn around let alone move away from their piglets.


Male piglets may be castrated (have their testicles removed) without anesthetic.  This is a painful and stressful procedure which is carried out in the first few days of life.


Piglets less than 15kg in weight and three weeks in age can be killed via blunt trauma to the head, which the Code of Practice states can be carried out with a “hammer or other suitable heavy object”.


Unless being kept for breeding, piglets are killed at just 6 months of age, a mere fraction of their potential 10-15 year lifespan.


You can help piglets by leaving pig products off your plate.