Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pig Farmers Face Pressure on Size of the Sty

This is by far the best article I've read so far regarding the gestation crates, HSUS, and farmer's reactions. 

Check it out: 
"ELDRIDGE, Iowa — Sow 44733 had broken the shoulder of one of her pen mates, rousted another who was huddled in the corner and was chewing on the ear of a third. 
Other sows in the pen sported abrasions, torn ears and bloody tail stumps — all souvenirs of her attentions. 
It was that kind of behavior that led hog farmers like Tom Dittmer to isolate sows in individual stalls called gestation crates that are barely bigger than the pigs themselves. 
“The reason the industry switched to crates wasn’t because we wanted to harm our animals,” Mr. Dittmer said. “We did it because we thought it was what was best for the animals.” The move also kept the price of pork reasonably low for consumers, he said. 
This year, however, Mr. Dittmer and fellow hog farmers are under increasing pressure from corporate pork buyers and animal rights groups to return to the old way of doing things: putting sows in group housing. In the last week of September alone, three companies — Dunkin’ Donuts, ConAgra Foods and Brinker International, which operates Chili’s — announced that over the next decade, they would no longer buy pork derived from pigs housed in gestation crates."
My favorite quote from the article:
“What I don’t like is some big restaurant chain in Chicago that knows nothing about raising animals is telling us how to raise pigs,” said Glen Keppy, a retired pig farmer whose sons finish raising Mr. Dittmer’s pigs for market, referring to McDonald’s, which promised in February to stop buying pork from pigs born in gestation crates. “Would they tell Microsoft how to make computers?”
So true. These people have no idea how to raise a pig, so who are they to start dictating how it should be done? They may have good intentions to make a pig's life more pleasant, but in reality they just end up hurting them.

Read the rest here.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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