Coles Frees 34,000 Mother Pigs, 350,000 Hens in Factory Farming Phase Out

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By Vittorio Hernandez | October 23, 2012 9:41 AM EST

Australian supermarket giant Coles announced on Monday that it is phasing out its factory farming practices a year ahead of its promise. Keeping the pledge means Coles will free 34,000 mother pigs from cramped stalls and 350,000 hens from cages.

The announcement is in support of Animals Australia's biggest campaign to end factory farming of pigs and chicken. The group blamed the practice for being the main cause of cruelty to animals. It was the same group that publicised the brutal and inhumane manner that Australian cattle are slaughtered in Indonesian abbatoirs.

The group's TV ad, which features flying piglets, attempts to give animals a say on factory farming and animal cruelty. The group is also campaigning for Australian consumers to stop buying hams and turkeys for the yearend holiday and other processed fresh meat, dairy and poultry products including milk and eggs from farms that confine the animals to small pens and cages most of their lives.

"We know that factory farming only exists because their secrets are secured behind high walls and closed doors - and that an informed community would not knowingly support such cruelty," The Australian quoted the email from Animals Australia Campaign Director Lyn White.

"This campaign will inform, inspire and empower Australians to make compassionate choices that will improve the lives of these animals, by refusing factory farmed products, buying fewer animals products, or by going meat free," she added.

Coles' main competitor, Woolworths, said it has gone ahead of the factory farming phase out, and 98 per cent of its fresh pork comes from farmers who operate stall-free farms. Woolies said all of its fresh pork would be produced in such an environment by mid-2013. Woolies added that it no longer carries caged eggs from its Select brand eggs.

Famous Australians such as former tennis star Pat Rafter, singer Missy Higgins, TV host Rove McManus and comedians Dave Hughes and Judith Lucy are featured in the TV ad campaign titled Make It Possible. It will have animation special effects similar to those used in the hit movie Babe.

The campaign also took place at about the same time that Pakistan is culling 11,500 Australian sheep which are fit for human consumption. To make matters worse, reports said the culling is done in a brutal manner, in violation of the previous agreement between the Sindh High Court and PK Livestock, the importer of the animals.

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