Research has shown that pigs are intelligent and social animals. It is therefore important to consider a number of factors in the housing of the sows during their productive years. Sows require adequate mobility to allow for the sow to turn around comfortably and to assume normal postures. They should be able to interact with other sows, they should have access to adequate food and water to minimize aggressive behavior, and they should have an environment that allows them to exhibit their normal behavior. The housing should provide an environment which assures proper ventilation, climate control and other physical facilities necessary to prevent injury and to promote the health of the animal. We do recognize that group housing of sows does require a higher level of animal husbandry to assure the good health and welfare of the individual animal.
The exception to the group housing is in the use of individual farrowing crates which are used to safeguard the piglet. These crates are used prior to birth and for a reasonable period of time after birth.