The conditions afforded sows (adult female pigs) used for breeding on industrial pig production operations present a number of welfare problems. Sows are routinely confined in gestation and farrowing crates barely larger than their own bodies, where they are unable to turn around during their pregnancy and lactation periods, often in excess of 128 consecutive days. Behavioral abnormalities such as stereotypic bar-biting and aggression arise due to environmental deficiencies and restricted feeding regimens. Sows in large, industrial operations are also affected by a number of production-related diseases and suffer from higher mortality rates. A reevaluation of current confinement systems and management practices is urgently needed, as there are a number of grave animal welfare concerns for sows in the commercial pig production industry.
The Humane Society of the United States, "The Welfare of Sows Used for Breeding in the Pig Industry" (2009). IMPACTS ON FARM ANIMALS. 26.