Essere Animali has documented sows in narrow cages and piglets subjected to painful mutilations. With your help we want Italian supermarkets to commit to ending these cruel practices.

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In Italy 9 million pigs have their tail docked and, if they are males, are castrated without any anaesthetic or pain relief. During gestation, farrowing and lactation,  500,000 sows are confined in cages so narrow that they can barely move.

These are very painful and, in the case of routine tail docking, also illegal practices. However, these procedures are still carried out at almost all Italian intensive pig farms, including those supplying the PDO and PGI food sector.

This is a structural problem that concerns the entire food industry and causes great suffering for intelligent and sensitive animals.

The objective of #SOSpig campaign is to put an end to these cruel practices as soon as possible. For this reason, we are calling on Italian supermarkets to commit to phasing out the use of gestation and farrowing crates, along with pig mutilations, in their pork supply chain. As consumers, we can use our enormous power to urge supermarkets to start changing their policies.

Essere Animali is dedicated to contributing to a society without violence against animals. The elimination of these harmful practices is a necessary step to achieve this goal.

Life in a cage

Breeding sows spend more than a third of their lives in cages and are routinely forced into pregnancy

Gestation crates

During the gestation period, sows are confined in individual stalls so narrow that they can barely move. Since they rub against the bars, they have physical injuries and infections all over their body. Apathy and frustration are the effects of the psychological stress that they experience.

Farrowing crates

During the farrowing and lactation period, sows are confined in individual pens without any enrichment material, where they cannot build a nest or look after their piglets. The risk of crushing piglets is high since sows are unable to move and give piglets time to move away before they lie down.


Tail docking and surgical castration without anesthesia are painful operations regularly performed on piglets

Graphic images Click to watch


In Italy, young male pigs are still routinely castrated without any anaesthetic or pain relief, despite the enormous pain that this surgical operation causes. Although this procedure has been highly criticised for welfare reasons, it is nonethless carried out to avoid the risk of boar taint.

Tail docking

Routine tail docking is an extremely painful practice, with serious consequences on both a physical and psychological level. It does not reduce the risk of tail biting and has been illegal in the EU for more than 20 years. However, it is still sistematically carried out in 98% of Italian intensive farms.


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Expert opinions

We have showed our investigation to leading experts. These are their opinions:

It has been demonstrated that environmental conditions can affect animal wellbeing on factory farms. Therefore, the confinement and consequent inability to move can cause gestating sows great physiological pain and severely affect their muscular system.

Dr. Enrico Moriconi, Veterinary Doctor, Technical Ethological and Animal Wellbeing Consultant

Few people know that pigs are sentient beings that can feel pain and joy. Unfortunately, they are not able to express their emotions due to the brutal conditions in which they are forced to live. In fact, the stress that they experience on intensive farms prevents them of almost all natural behaviour.

Dr. Luciano O. Atzori, Biologist, Expert in Food Security and Health Protection

I support Essere Animali’s campaign concerning sow stalls and pig mutilations. It is inconceivable that sentient and intelligent beings such as pigs are confined in inhumane conditions and subjected to painful mutilations just because of the inadequate policies of the food industry.

Dr.ssa Manuela Martinetti, Veterinary Doctor, Meat Inspector

Did you know that

Caring mothers
Before giving birth, sows carefully build a nest to produce a cozy and safe environment for piglets.

Strong emotional ties
Females tend to live in small groups made up of 2 to 6 individuals. This allows to develop strong ties among the members.

They are very clean animals and never sleep in dirty environments.

They have incredible cognitive abilities and are as clever as a  three-year old child.


Your actions are crucial to stop these cruelties to animals

Change starts at the dinner table

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Our mission is to uncover the reality of factory farming.
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Thanks to the important work of our Investigation Team, millions of people can now see the brutal reality of animal abuse inside factory farms and slaughterhouses. We need your support to continue to make a huge difference for animals!

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