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Motherhood in Cages

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News Section Icon Published 8/12/2021

MOTHERHOOD

To highlight the reality of life for mother pigs (sows) living in factory farms, Dutch filmmaker Eline Helena Schellekens and editor Kate Morgan, have released Motherhood, a new, short film, which was commissioned by Compassion in World Farming. 

Motherhood comes after the award-winning short film M6NTHS, from Eline Helena Schellekens, which told the story of life in a factory farm from a piglet’s point of view. 

HALF OF UK SOWS SUFFERING IN CAGES 

The six-minute film is shot entirely from a mother pig’s point of view, without any comments or voice-over. This unique perspective depicts the animal as an individual, capable of feeling pain and joy. Despite such irrefutable qualities, more than 50% of sows in farms across the UK are forced to spend their entire adult lives in barren cages—robbed of their ability to express natural behaviors or even turn around. Globally, this number is estimated in the tens of millions. 

As the footage—filmed inside farms in the UK, Belgium, and France—reveals, while imprisoned in farrowing crates, sows are only able to stand up or lie down until their piglets are weaned and taken away, usually at around four weeks of age. Within a couple weeks of weaning, the sow is inseminated again, and then the heartbreaking cycle continues.  

A NATION OF ANIMALS LOVERS? 

Motherhood challenges us to reflect on how we treat our farmed animals,” says our Head of UK, Dr. Nick Palmer. “As a nation of animal lovers, it’s high time we stopped treating animals like machines and started seeing them for what they are: sentient, inquisitive, and capable of feeling pain and pleasure. We urge the Government to bring about an end to the cage age and to usher in a new era in farming of which Britain can be truly proud.” 

A PIVOTAL MOMENT 

The release of Motherhood comes at a pivotal moment for the UK. In May, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs published its new Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which sets out the steps needed to create a more humane, healthy, and sustainable food and farming future. This includes a proposal to examine the use of farrowing crates for pigs and cages for laying hens. 

We will continue to campaign and lobby until we finally End the Cage Age in the UK and beyond.  

HELP US TO END THE CAGE AGE 

A mother—of any species—should not be forcefully impregnated or confined to a cage, only able to offer her babies a fraction of comfort through bars. Please, join us in our fight to End the Cage Age for all farmed animals. A gift from you will take us one step closer to achieving this monumental mission.  

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