Support our work A festive paradox - not pigs in blankets winter appeal Donate Fundraise Please donate to help ensure pigs are not forgotten This year, we are asking for your help in ensuring that pigs are not forgotten. We have a moral obligation to end the use of cages, and other intensive systems, which result in animals having restricted, stressful lives, full of suffering. A festive paradox - not pigs in blankets, but mothers in cages 'Tis the season of joy and goodwill. Yet, amid festive celebrations, a sombre reality persists. Every year, factory-farmed animals face a fate that contradicts the very essence of the season’s warmth, with millions being slaughtered for festive meals. These sentient beings, robbed of the simplest pleasures, endure short, arduous lives. “Good food” is a phrase regularly associated with Christmas. Yet sadly, for many animals farmed for food, there has been little “good” in their lives. OneKind passionately advocates for a diet free of animal products. However, we understand that the majority still partake in meat and dairy consumption and know that everybody can make a positive difference to animals’ lives by choosing higher welfare options. As long as animals endure the hardships of factory farming, our commitment to trying to lessen those hardships remains unwavering. Pigs are natural, caring mothers They take time to build a nest to give birth away from other pigs and form strong bonds with their piglets. Nesting is incredibly important for a sow. It allows her to create warmth, comfort and safety for her piglets. After around a week, she will take them out to explore and meet other animals within the group. But this is not the life of most pigs on British farms In the UK, most sows are kept indoors and endure multiple pregnancies during their miserable lives. Pregnant sows are placed in farrowing crates shortly before giving birth, where they stay until their piglets are taken at just four weeks old. Mothers have no interaction with their babies, other than suckling them through a barrier. They suffer immensely. The crates are so narrow that the sow cannot turn around or walk even a few steps. It’s barely bigger than her own body. She can only lie down and stand up with difficulty. Her sadness will go un-noticed, and she will suffer alone. She cannot do much at all, except the bare minimum for survival. Factory farming systems do nothing for animals’ emotional or mental wellbeing, and they suffer from frustration and boredom. Pigs are incredibly clean animals, yet they are forced to live in barren, sometimes filthy, conditions within farms – denied the most basic needs. Such deprivation should not be tolerated in the 21st century, and it is impossible to claim that Scotland is a Good Food Nation while the use of farrowing crates continues. Desolate lives Every animal is a living being with their own personality and needs. Pigs are extremely intelligent, sociable, and friendly, very similar to dogs. They can play games, have a sophisticated sense of direction and a strong memory. Could you imagine keeping your dog in a cage so small that she couldn’t turn around? The rest of pigs’ lives, although not quite so closely confined, are equally desolate. In intensive systems, young pigs are kept in groups in small, empty pens until they are old enough to be killed, at just 5-6 months old. Despite being exploratory animals, they are trapped in a barren environment, unable to root and roam. As a result of these conditions, they bite each other’s tails. Instead of providing for their needs, the industry clips their teeth and cut their tails off, often without anaesthetic. Animals having only the bare minimum to survive and denied any form of enrichment does not equal a good life. We cannot allow pigs to be left behind The Scottish Programme for Government 2021- 2022 committed to: “Start consultation this year on proposals to phase out cages for gamebirds and laying hens, and farrowing crates for pigs”. The following year there was no mention of cages and the most recent programme for government 2023-24 repeats the commitment for laying hens and gamebirds but, very disappointingly, does not mention farrowing crates. The time for action is now! We know our supporters and the public care about animal welfare, but it is currently difficult for people to identify and find higher welfare products. Recent polling showed that over 68% of people in Scotland did not know what farrowing crates are. After being given a basic description, the majority supported an end to their use and 63% supported government assisting farmers to move from using farrowing crates in pig farming to cage-free methods. Pig producers in Scotland have expressed willingness to phase out the use of farrowing crates if that transition is well planned, and they are supported to do so. The recently introduced Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill could allow capital grants for farmers to stop the use of farrowing crates, and the food plans introduced by the Good Food Nation (Scotland) Act 2022 should create a transition to a more compassionate food system. Your gift today will help us continue fighting for an end to the use of farrowing crates and support our ongoing work to protect all animals. Please help us make 2024 the year that farmed animals so desperately need.