Following an appeal by PETA India to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of gestation and farrowing crates in pig farming, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Veterinary and Dairy Development, Arunachal Pradesh, has issued a notification in response to the plea.
The notification cites Section 11(1)(e) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which prohibits the confinement of any animal to a receptacle that fails to offer reasonable opportunity for movement, such as gestation and farrowing crates. It also states that these crates are detrimental to the sows’ physical and mental health and restrict their ability to engage in natural behaviours. That confining animals in this way is illegal is a position confirmed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre on Pig.
Arunachal Pradesh is the latest of 23 states and union territories to issue directions against the housing of pigs in these contraptions. Other governments that have issued circulars include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat ,Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Gestation crates (aka “sow stalls”) are metal cages, essentially the size of a pig, with concrete or slatted floors. In them, pigs are unable to turn around or even stand up without difficulty. These devices confine pregnant sows, who are typically transferred to farrowing crates to give birth and are kept in them until their piglets are taken away. Farrowing crates are fundamentally the same as gestation crates, except that they contain small side compartments for piglets.
Gestation and farrowing crates deny mother pigs everything that’s natural and important to them, such as opportunities to forage, build a nest for their young, socialise with other pigs, and regulate their body temperature (such as by wallowing in mud). The extreme stress and frustration caused by this severe confinement results in abnormal behaviour, such as continually biting at the enclosure bars or “chewing” the air.
PETA India reminds everyone that they can help pigs and other animals by refusing to eat them.