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Pigs have to be kept in the dark for nearly 24 hours to keep them calm. As from 2002 pig breeders will be compelled to keep pigs on two thirds of solid floor. One third of a pig's floor is made of grid, to let the manure fall through. For this reason they are in the smell of ammonia all day long. The animals stand on the grid floor all day, which cause them to suffer from foot injuries. Because they live almost permanent in half or complete darkness (to keep them calm) in very small cages, they are not used to anything and they panic when they have to be transported to the slaughterhouse (usually after 3 to 6 months). This is all the worse during long distance exportations. Just in the Netherlands alone, about 10.000 pigs and piglets are transported every day, to go to the slaughterhouse or to be fattened up in a far away country. Pigs are bad travellers. They are very sensitive to stress and get sick very easily along the way.

When they have youngsters, sows are jammed between two rails, so that they cannot turn around and take care of the piglets, only feed them. This is done to prevent the sow from crushing a piglet to death, because of the lack of space. The piglets are brought to the weaning section after the nursing period of 3 to 4 weeks (instead of the natural 14 weeks). At the age of about 72 days they go to the fattening farm, where 14 of them are put in a sty of 10 m², usually on a grid floor without straw.

The males (boars) are castrated without anaesthesia, in order to satisfy the foreign market, because of the alleged influence of male hormones on the scent of the meat. This actually isn't the case with pigs that are slaughtered at such a young age.Sows suffer from severe stress (e.g. heart- and stomach symptoms) because of the limitation of freedom of movement. Out of frustration they often chew on the rails of their cage. Naturally, pigs are very playful and intelligent animals.

At the beginning of the year 2000, an investigation of the AID (Dutch Inspection Service which checks the compliance with the law in accordance with animals in Holland) showed that over 50% of the farmers violate even the minimum welfare regulations for pigs and deliberately make the animals suffer. More often than not, the pigs are kept in very tight housing, dim to dark sties, with a lack of distraction material. By keeping the animals in smaller cages, pig breeders can avoid the purchase of ammonia rights.

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