Woolworths has announced that from the end of September, all fresh pork sold at Woolworths will be sourced from farms that no longer use sow stalls to restrain pregnant sows. The introduction of sow-friendly pork is a first for South African retailers and represents another milestone on our Good Business Journey.

This is the first phase of an initiative that will see all Woolworths South African pork products produced in a way that is much more humane and kinder for the sows by the end of this year.

This move represents a major departure from standard practice in South Africa, where sows are kept in restrictive stalls for the entire16-week pregnancy period. Sow stalls allow the pregnant sows to stand up and lie down, but not to turn around. Now Woolworths supplier farms will keep pregnant sows in group housing where they will have the freedom to move around and socialise.

Customers will be able to purchase sow friendly fresh pork at Woolworths from the end of September 2014. From the end of December 2014, all Woolworths branded fresh processed and cured pork products, such as bacon, boerewors and sausages, will follow the same farming practices as fresh. We also aim to achieve this for all other local pork products such as cooked hams, deli meats, pizzas, sandwiches and pies by the end of July 2015. Imported Woolworths branded pork products will comply with EU or UK legislation.

“We would like to thank our supplier partners for joining us in giving sows a better quality of life,” says Woolworths Managing Director of Foods, Zyda Rylands. “This is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through our supplier partnerships and goes to show how together, we can lead change.”

Adds Rylands, “Along with our customers, we have wanted to address this issue of humane treatment of animals for a number of years. I am sure that they will be happy to know that they will soon be able to buy more humanely produced pork at Woolies.”

Compassion in World Farming has welcomed the Woolworths announcement. “We are extremely pleased that Woolworths and their pig farmers are changing the way sows are treated. We hope that other producers will soon follow suit,” says the organisation’s spokesperson, Louise van der Merwe.