I understand that this is a very important issue so let me reassure you of my commitment to animal welfare.
The UK Government has made clear that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows, and I welcome that the pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. It is worth pointing out that the UK has led the way in improving the welfare of pigs.
More broadly, I know that Ministers are aiming for a situation where farrowing crates are no longer necessary, and I welcome research funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which looked into alternative farrowing systems. Having said that, it would not be right to end the use of farrowing crates without examining all the evidence around their use, and considering all the options. I am nevertheless reassured that UK Ministers are constantly reviewing legal standards as part of their commitment to animal welfare.
Separately, I welcome that the UK Government is looking into ending the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening in England and Wales. This forms part of a renewed push by the UK Government to strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader on animal welfare.