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Pigs - what are we doing?

We're working in many different ways to improve the welfare of pigs at all stages of their lives. Here are some of the things we're doing.

Developing welfare standards for pigs

We encourage pig producers to adopt our RSPCA welfare standards for pigs, which we've developed to ensure higher standards of welfare at all stages of the pigs' lives. For example:

  • Bedding: all pigs must be provided with bedding and environmental enrichment - either straw or other similar suitable material.
  • No castration: surgical castration is prohibited.
  • No farrowing crates: we don't permit the use of farrowing crates. There should be no equipment that has the potential to confine the sow for farrowing.
  • No teeth clipping, nose ringing and tail docking: these aren't permitted except in exceptional circumstances. Even then, the herd vet and farmer must write to the RSPCA, setting out what other measures have been taken to avoid carrying out these practices. Certain other standards must also be met before permission will be granted.

Working with governments and industry

Our scientific staff represent us on a number of government and industry committees, including the Pig Health and Welfare Council. We were also invited to take part in a series of workshops on the issue of piglet castration.

Pig welfare research projects

Research into pig welfare helps us develop our welfare standards and wider policy around the well-being of pigs and other animals. We've been involved in a number of pig welfare research projects (both providing funding, and/or as members of the project steering groups), including:

  • Reducing tail biting in pigs
  • Higher-welfare indoor alternatives to the farrowing crate
  • Reducing aggression between pigs
  • Avoiding nose-ringing in outdoor pigs

Visit our research projects page to find out more about our animal welfare research.

If you're concerned about pig welfare, learn more about how you can help.

Find out more