They suffer in secrecy

Cutlet, pork roast, sausage – an Austrians favourite food. Although climatologists have proven that meat consumption is the biggest source for our recent climate catastrophe, meat consumption continues for the most part unabated.

Politicians and farmers are denying that there even are animal factories in Austria. But there definitely are farms with over thousands of animals here. How many animals must be on a farm for it to be considered an animal factory? For the individual pig suffering under bad living conditions, it does not make a difference whether it has to live with 10000, 5000 or 500 other pigs.

Numbers and hard facts (by VGT)

Per year around 5.5 million pigs are butchered in Austria alone. Almost all these pigs had to live their whole life without having litter. For 99% of these pigs, the first and only time they get to see the outside world is on their way to the slaughterhouse.


Most Austrian hogs lead miserable existences in their dreary life on full slatted floors, without the possibility to ever lie down comfortably and without having any litter. According to Austrian law, however, material for activities must be made available to the pigs.

At the age of only a few days, the male piglets are virtually always castrated without anaesthesia by the farmers themselves. This causes them to suffer inconceivable agony, they scream and twitch. Even one week later they are still in pain. This is shown by behavioural disorders or growth depression. Likewise, the farmers are allowed to grind the teeth and dock the tails of the piglets without anaesthesia until the 7th day after being born, if this is considered necessary means to avoid injury. 

In their extreme desperation, they often start mutilating and eating each other. Under normal living conditions, pigs are actually very curious, social and extremely intelligent beings who like to keep their living area clean. But they cannot live out their natural way of behaviour, because they have to live under the conditions of modern intensive factory farming. They have to lie on their own faeces on cold slatted floors, tightly jammed into comfortless bays. At the age of only six months, they are finally slaughtered after their brief and dreadful life.

Keeping of Breeding Pigs

 Gestation crates are still the sad reality for Austrians breeding sows. These are metal grids, in which the animals are locked, without being able to take a step. The same applies to farrowing pens with farrowing grids. Over 99% of female breeding sows must give birth to their children in a farrowing cage, which does not allow them to take a step or turn around.

Legal Framework

Until the 7th day of life, male piglets may be castrated without the usage of anaesthesia or painkillers by the farmers themselves. The procedure does not have to be done by a professional veterinarian. The same rules apply to the grinding of the teeth and the docking of the tail. Currently, it is allowed to keep pigs on full slatted floors, without any litter or the possibility for the animals to lie down comfortably.

In 2033, there will be a complete ban on gestation crates in Austria, also including the farrowing pens, except for a few days after birth. In 2019, new buildings with a fixed farrowing grid are going to be prohibited. As early as 2013, a law was introduced, that reduced the amount of time, that breeding sows are allowed to be kept in gestation crates during insemination and pregnancy to a maximum of 10 days. Exceptions are farms that would have to rebuild.

A general exception to all of the above regulations applies to farms with a maximum of 10 brood animals.

Society against animal factories VGT and Robin Hood show horror pig fattening

The society against VGT animal factories and Robin hood present anonymously received material to the Austrian veterinarian authorities

Together with the society VGT against animal factories we were able to bring a horror pig fattening farm to public attention at the end of 2017. It is located close to Böheimkirchen in lower Austria. Anonymously received footage speaks more than volumes. 

Sadly, the pig fattening farm in Böheimkirchen is not an individual case. Confinement in darkened cells, clotty windows, mother sows living their miserable lives in tight farrowing crates. Dead piglets. Filth and misery everywhere. The society against animal factories filed complaints at local judicatory authorities. The verdict: A conditional sentence to prison for one of the owners and one worker for a duration of three months… even against this verdict objection was raised.

Filth, injuries, maggots, nearly no provided material for activities, cannibalism and total darkness except for a few minutes each day. Alarming what is possible in Austria.

  • Piglets are being castrated by getting their testicles ripped out – which is prohibited!
  • They are thrown around.
  • Their tails docked too short. 
  • Dying animals are simply left lying around.

On paper, Austria has a good animal protection law. The execution and controls are deficient though. There is no change in the animal factories.

A vegan or at least vegetarian lifestyle changes a lot.

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