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Pigs: Animal Housing

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of sows in organic farming environments are kept in (a) (i) outdoor and (ii) indoor farrowing systems and (b) farrowing crates; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The information requested is not held centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs as gathering the information would require each individual Control Body to contact each producer.

The main principles of organic farming are that animal health and welfare are primarily promoted by good management and care of animals.

Organic production employs a system that ensures animals have access to pasture (when weather and ground conditions permit) and are truly free range, that they have plenty of space – which helps to reduce stress and disease - and that they can graze and forage naturally on organic pasture (grasses and other crops) where only natural fertilisers are used and pesticides are severely restricted.

There were approximately 37,400 organic pigs raised in the UK in 2018, approximately 10% of which were breeding sows (3,800). Farrowing crates are prohibited in organic production and organic regulations require farrowing sows to have at least 7.5 m2 of indoor space per sow and 2.5 m2 of outdoor space per sow.

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