Knowledgebase > Mutilations and General Practices

Mutilations and General Practices

Last updated 14 October 2017

The Australian Pork industry is only driven to address the interests of the animals it produces when consumer concern threatens profitability. When the industry fears sales will drop, it reacts by doing the minimal amount possible to appease consumers whilst maintaining maximum profits. This industry treats pigs as mere objects, units of production, and this is evidenced by the horrific lives these animals endure from their birth, right through to their deaths.

Ear cutting

  • Ear cutting, or "notching", is carried out as a method to identify pigs and piglets. This procedure occurs without anaesthetic and involves cutting off pieces of piglets' ears in their first few days of life.
  • Other ways pig operators mark or identify pigs is with tattoos, ear tags, or by spray painting them.

Tail cutting

  • According to the industry, tail cutting (or docking as they refer to it) is performed to reduce tail biting between piglets and pigs and is a common issue in all housing systems. The reality is that pigs are driven to tail biting due to the stressful, boring and overcrowded conditions they live in. Activists have found farms where pigs have large injuries to their backsides from other pigs chewing on them, despite the fact that they have had their tails "trimmed" - photos and videos of this will be coming shortly.

Teeth cutting

  • The industry refers to the cutting of newborn piglets’ teeth as ‘clipping’. The piglets have their teeth cut in order not to damage their mother’s teats and udder. Once again this behaviour occurs due to the conditions the pigs live in. In natural conditions a mother pig would be able to move away or push her piglets away if they were causing her pain or discomfort. In the pig industry, 95% of mother pigs are kept in farrowing crates where they are unable to turn around let alone move away from their piglets.


  • Male piglets may be castrated (have their testicles removed) without anaesthetic. This is a painful and stressful procedure which is carried out in the first few days of their life.

Killing sick or injured piglets

  • Piglets less than 15kgs in weight and three weeks in age can be killed via blunt trauma to the head which the Code of Practice states can be carried out with a “hammer or other suitable solid heavy object”.

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