In a matter of months, an incredible 5,000 people have emailed the Minister for Agriculture and Connectivity, Jim Fairlie, to pressure the Scottish Government to consult on a phase out to farrowing crates for mother pigs. 

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on phasing out cages for laying hens and gamebirds. However, the consultation will not include farrowing crates for mother pigs, despite their 2021-2022  Programme for Government commitment to do so. 

Our wonderful supporters have been writing to the Minister to highlight the welfare issues of farrowing crates and demonstrate their support for a phase out to these cruel cages.  Within months, we have surpassed our target of 5,000 emails. 


Pigs throughout the UK are currently suffering in these crates, that are barely bigger than their own body. It is crucial that as many people as possible demonstrate their support for a ban on farrowing crates in Scotland and we keep the momentum going. The email is pre-written, but we would encourage you to personalise your email where possible.

You may also wish to respond to the Government’s current consultation on phasing out egg-laying hens and encourage them to consult on phasing out farrowing crates too. You can use our step-by-step response guide to assist your answers. 


What is wrong with farrowing crates? 

In the UK, most sows are kept indoors and endure multiple pregnancies during their lives. Pregnant sows are placed in farrowing crates shortly before giving birth and remain in these restrictive crates for up to five weeks. Sow lying in farrowing crate.

A pregnant sow will suffer tremendously in these confining crates. The crates are so narrow that the sow cannot turn around or walk even a few steps. 

She cannot build a nest for her piglets, which she is strongly motivated to do, nor interact with or care for her piglets (beyond allowing them to suckle through bars). 

She may also get painful sores from lying on a solid surface and painful bites because selection for ‘productivity’ has led to litters that have more piglets than teats, creating competition to nurse. 

Support for a ban 

As well as 5,000 individuals writing to the Minister, polling also reveals that most Scots (63%) support the government assisting farmers to move from using farrowing crates to cage-free methods. 

There is staunch support for a ban. It is imperative that the Government uphold its commitment and consult on a phase out farrowing crates for pigs. We will continue tirelessly to apply pressure until the Government Stands Up for Pigs.