For your reading displeasure. I never knew about the "teeth" thing that they do to piglets.
Sow At Pig Breeding Firm Bears 27 Piglets
by ANC Staff
Posted on July 26, 2003
Animal welfare experts in the UK are disturbed by the news that an "experimental" sow referred to as "P1818" gave birth last month to 27 piglets the largest litter in history.
The sow belongs to ACMC Ltd, a pig-breeding company in East Yorkshire, England which describes itself as "a powerhouse of pig genetics and production."
Ros Varnes of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, remarked, "The sow is likely to suffer discomfort through the pregnancy as she is carrying so many piglets."
The 27-piglet litter is the result of a 10 year selective breeding program by ACMC to try to maximise litter sizes, and hence profits, for the UK pig farming industry.
In the wild, pigs naturally give birth to litters of around five piglets or less. Larger litters tend to result in an inadequate milk supply leading to malnutrition and aggression in piglets competing for milk. The mother's teats and belly are lacerated and infected by the continual suckling of so many piglets, and in factory farm settings the sow is physically restricted and cannot take a break from the demands of her litter.
Huge litters such as the one produced at ACMC "typify what is wrong with modern factory farming," said Peter Stevenson, director of the British animal welfare organization Compassion In World Farming. "The industry should try to reduce litter size, not increase it."
To solve the problems caused by its own drive for productivity, the pig farming industry "clips" piglets' teeth down to the gum soon after birth; a practice which is painful and can lead to infection and poor feeding. Tails are also cut off in an attempt to discourage the frantic piglets from biting each other.
In a 2001 report on pig welfare, Animal Aid UK condemned both types of mutilation as painful and unethical, and commented, "The industry ignores the real problem namely, the piglets are being forced to compete for teats in an unyielding metal and stone environment with an unnaturally large number of litter mates."
Sows in the pig farming industry are continuously impregnated to maximize their breeding productivity, with no breaks between their over-large litters. The usual result is exhaustion and early slaughter for the mother.
ACMC Executive Chairman Stephen Curtis stated that sow "P1818" has produced a total of more than 100 piglets in her last five farrowings, and gave birth to 21 piglets in each of her last three litters.
"This litter...is the outcome of our quest to increase the overall productive mean output from our commercial parent female the AC1," said Curtis. "This programme has been on going for many years and is designed to put British pig breeding ahead of the world."
Pig gives birth to 27 piglets
Animal Aid UK
The Suffering of Farmed Pigs
End Factory Farming (VIVA)
Pig Welfare Report
ACMC News Page
Sows About That!