Clarified – What are gestation crates?
June 6th, 2012
10:15 PM ET
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In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology and issues we're attempting to do the same.

This little piggie is bred for market. This little piggie can't turn her body around. That's about to change.

The term "gestation crates" has been trotted out across news media and social networks over the course of the last few months as major corporations declared plans to phase out their use, but what exactly are they and why is their use so controversial?

What are gestation crates?

There are approximately 5.8 million breeding sows living on pig farms across the United States, according to the USDA, and 60 to 70 percent of them spend the majority of their lives in metal-sided stalls that are two feet wide and seven feet long. They are pregnant for most of their lifespan and then moved to a farrowing stall to give birth.

Food and water is provided to the sows while they're in the stalls, but they have a very limited range of motion. The animal may flop down on her side, but she cannot turn around.

Op-ed: Jane Velez-Mitchell – Get rid of gestation crates NOW

Why are gestation crates used?

The industry began moving from group pens to individual sow housing in the 1960s, but it wasn't until the 1990s that it became standard practice. Dr. Paul Sundberg, the National Pork Board's Vice President of Science and Technology says that sows are aggressive, competitive animals, and if they are made to live in a contained group situation, they will fight for food, shelter and space.

Twenty to thirty years ago, producers keeping their pigs in group housing had to have a certain skill set, financial resources and quantity of land and personnel to manage their herd. Producers found that individual housing negates the issue of aggression, and the physical structure of the crates makes it easier to manage the herd, and requires fewer resources while allowing the animals to thrive, says Sundberg. Other studies contest that theory.

How do sows fare under those circumstances?

Dr. Sundberg says that science is on the side of the farmers. The industry uses three major measures in combination to assess animal welfare: an assessment of her physiology (white blood cell activity, hormone levels), behavior (interaction with her environment) and production (number of times giving birth and pigs per litter).

The evaluation method was developed by scientists at Texas Tech University and in Australia, and scientists and veterinarians at the American Veterinary Medical Association. By their standards, the welfare of sows in gestation crates is equal to that of those raised in group pens that do not inhibit mobility.

Matthew Prescott, Food Policy Director for the Humane Society of the United States, argues that these measures are not enough. He says, "It doesn't take a scientist to look at a situation where an animal is crammed in such a tight space, they can't even turn their own body around - just maybe shift a little to the left or the right. We know that farmers can do better."

While these circumstances aren't necessarily seen as egregious an abuse as the piglet throwing, wound neglect and anesthetic-free castration and tail amputation that the Humane Society uncovered and recorded at a pig farm in Wyoming, Prescott believes that the housing is symptomatic of a "culture of cruelty" within a segment of the pork industry. He believes that their resistance to outside input is based on an "archaic philosophy" that the only people who should have any say in how animals are treated are those who have the animal.

"24 hours a day, seven days a week for your whole life adds up to a lot of suffering," he says.

Famed animal scientist Temple Grandin likens tenure in a gestation crate to a life-long sentence in a first-class airplane seat. "You could maybe turn over on your side," she says, "and there's someone bringing you food and water and everything you need, but you can't move." The pigs not emerge unscathed, she says, "They can feel fear and pain."

Grandin agrees with Prescott - and with Sundberg - that innovative solutions should and will come from farmers.

What are major food corporations asking of pig farmers?

Since February, major fast food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, Denny's and Wendy's as well as the nation's two largest grocery story chains, Safeway and Kroger have publicly announced that they will join earlier adopters including Chipotle, Whole Foods and Wolfgang Puck in phasing out gestation crate pork from their supply chains. The change will not be immediate; most plans call for suppliers to adhere to a ten-year transition timeline.

Smithfield and Hormel, two of the country's leading pork producers, have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill is already 50 percent crate-free.

Eight states, have passed laws to ban the use of gestation crates. Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island have bills pending, and earlier this week, New Jersey state senators proposed a bill that would prohibit, "crating, confining or tethering a gestating sow in order to prevent the free range of motion."

The change, Sundberg, Prescott and Grandin agree, is inevitable - and some worry it will come at a cost.

What will the burden be on the farmers?

A transition to group housing could be cost-prohibitive to a farmer, fears Sundberg, and it's very producer-specific. The price of conversion to a different system is based on a number of factors: the depreciation schedule of the equipment a farmer has; cost of facilities, land, management, production and labor; and changes in feed and productivity.

"It could cost millions to convert an average-sized farm," he says. "It could cost less and it could cost much more. It's economics - not emotional."

Sundberg balks at the notion of an outside marketing entity coming in and imposing their structure on farmers who he believes "know best" and are constantly trying to innovate.

Prescott cites a two-and-a-half year-long economic analysis by Iowa State University in which researchers found that group housing of gestation sows resulted in a weaned pig cost that was 11 percent less than the cost of one produced within an individual stall. Additionally, the study notes that group housing does not require more labor than a crate - possibly even less - but that the skill sets may be different and require training.

Grandin advises that farmers might lessen the sting of equipment purchase if they make the switch at the natural replacement intervals for worn-out equipment. While she admits that the group housing may take 15 to 30 more space, the cost of steel barriers would be greatly reduced.

What does the future hold?

While Sundberg and the Pork Board are opposed to the change, he agrees, along with Prescott and Grandin that the shift away from gestation crates is inevitable. The economic pressure from large food corporations is too great, and public opposition to the current system only grows, as evidenced by online petitions, social media campaigns and polls.

Grandin believes that the resistance comes mainly comes from farmers in their 40s, who have only ever known the crate system. She has observed animal breeding facilities all over the world, and points to Murphy-Brown LLC, the world’s largest producer of pork products (and a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods) as an example of adaptation and innovation.

After a comprehensive study, the facility committed to phasing out gestation crates in favor of group housing, and sought to breed hybrid pigs with temperaments that were less aggressive and more suitable to communal living. And not only were the sows' living facilities improved - there was also a great benefit to the consumer. A slowdown in the breeding process in order to introduce new hybrids allowed the pigs to develop more fat, rather than quick-growing, but lean meat. It was, to Grandin's palate, "Much juicier and tastier."

That may be what makes change easier for everyone to swallow.

Read - Op-ed: Jane Velez-Mitchell – Get rid of gestation crates NOW and A day two pigs would die

soundoff (864 Responses)
  1. Frogz

    They are just pigs to be eaten. Its the same situation with the chickens... WHY do we care!? We shouldn't, there are more important issues in the world like human children starving and dying. I will start worrying about animals when the worlds humanitarian crisis is solved.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • Mary Mallozzi

      Hi Frogz, The reason we have world hunger is because of the issues with factory farming. It is very unsustainable. They feed the animals a tremendous amount of grain they can feed the world to, which leads to so much waste. I have much info on this issue and I will be happy to send your way ; )

      June 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Bob B

      The pigs I had were smarter than you. It's people like you make humans the worst animals on earth. Most animals and fish kill to eat, but as humans we should raise the animals that we eat the best we can.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • A P

      Right, why should we care about animals? Kicking dogs - which are dumber than pigs - should be encouraged, right? What a healthy world view!

      June 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • Crispy pork rinds

      I agree with Frogz. What difference does it make to the pig to be happy, sad, angry, etc matter how you slice it.... it is not going to stop one way or another from going to the slicer to be eaten. The next stupid test in this will be attaching wires to the pigs head living in each tpe of living arrangment to monitor its brain waves just to find out the pig doesn't have the capacity to care one way or the other. Maybe they could teach a spider to write "Some Pig" in its web to save the smart ones.....

      June 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply

        Don't tell me, let me guess,...yer an orphaned butthead. I once had a hat made out of one.

        June 9, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • wildmangreen

      another full of shi* big mouth who has never done a thing in his life about anything except his own fat as s but finds people who care about other living things are a jerk and liar.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • James in Vegas

      You and your heartless attitude toward animals is symptomatic of why I find the human species to be so thoroughly disappointing. Next time you watch a SciFy movies about aliens with superior intelligence coming to earth and destroying humanity so they can own and exploit our habitat, don't be horrified at the concept – that's basically what humans do to every other species on earth. You believe since we are more intelligent and stronger, we have the god-given right to abuse every other species on earth.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  2. Peter

    To think that I am a member of a species that is capable of such an atrocity disgusts me beyond words. If I ever come across a person involved with such a crime, God give me strength not to strangle that person on the spot with my bare hands. I will never consume pork again.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • Lobster Good

      If you're strong enough and ballsy enough to try and choke someone who has to wrestle with pigs all day then God help you indeed.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
      • James in Vegas

        oh ... you mean the pigs we keep locked up in gestation crates all day? Try spending an hour, just one hour, outside locked in a crate where you can hardly move, can't turn around. I'll bring you food and water occasionally. Wanna try?

        June 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
        • Lobster Good

          Jimmy boy I think the desert heats fried your brain.

          That said, it's always fun to watch an idiot libtard stammer about, telling me what is good for me because they know best. And everyone knows libtards are the most intelligent and compassionate creatures on Earth, right? Except of course if yuo happen to disagree with them. In that case they'll maim and eat you like a mad sow.

          June 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • kiminga

      You realize there are options out there, right? It is not at all difficult to find pork that is humanely raised in a pasture environment. I do this. In fact, my hog is going to slaughter in just 3 weeks. He spent his whole life freely roaming and rooting on a farm. The catch is, you have to be willing to pay a little more.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  3. Rachel

    You people who chose one of these two options below are no better than serial killers or child molesters, in my opinion. You are what's wrong with this world. When you're all alone because no one can stand you or things aren't going your way because you contribute nothing good to society, think back to this moment and realize what a miserable, bitter, hateful, useless person you are. You get what you give and since you can't even give an innocent animal a second thought, it will come back to you in a bad way. But you'll deserve it so don't go whining about your miserable life because, guess what – you don't really matter and your welfare is the last thing in the world anyone would consider. Stupid wastes of oxygen and space.

    –It really doesn't matter to me
    –Animal welfare is the last thing in the world I consider

    June 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • Lobster Good

      Wow. Your cardiologist must love you.

      Your anger and intolerance are what is wrong with this world. It is YOU who is the waste of oxygen and space.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
      • James in Vegas

        No lobster, Rachel has compassion for helpless animals and she feels their suffering. You – on the other hand – have none. Rachel is intolerant of needless suffering. You, on the other hand, just don't give a sh!t and insult people who feel otherwise. You not only waste our planet's oxygen, you make it stink.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
        • Lobster Good

          Your entire statement is an exercise in hypocrisy. Who's the intolerant one, James?

          June 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

        L.G., you really ought not to chew on yer toenails. It makes you so cantankerous and P-R-I-C-K-ly.

        June 9, 2012 at 12:11 am | Reply
    • Liz

      Chances are they are uneducated and overweight, which isn't punishment enough, but it's a start.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
      • DF

        I am educated...slightly overweight...raise pigs as a hobby...and answered that I do not care. It is meat plan and simple.

        Please explain your response and all your concerns to the baby pigs my sows step on because I both use farrowing crates and use open pen birthing. FYI the sows and baby pigs in the farrowing crates do not have nasty scars and are alive for 10 months longer than the babies who were suffocated because their mom did not get up after laying down on them. Do not judge what you have not experienced.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
        • Liz

          You're right. I haven't experienced raising an animal for the sole purpose of killing it and eating it. I don't think you should either.

          June 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • A P

      "realize what a miserable, bitter, hateful, useless person you are." Rachel, there's plenty to be admired about your intention to be empathetic, but do not let the irony of that sentence be lost on you. Being bitter about others' lack of empathy is not the way.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      There are kids in this country that live in worst conditions than the pigs and you worry about some animals. Get your priorities right. If you listed "That is at the top of my list" , you should be ashamed of yourself.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  4. Fiona

    Factory farming - partiicularly of pigs - is what turned me into a vegetarian. People seem to focus too often on the way the meat pigs are kept, but it's the breeding sows that exist in a living he ll, for years and years. There is no excuse for it.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  5. Sol

    Why not let them roam free, and when it comes down to feeding them, crate them until feeding time is over. This makes me sick.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • Lobster Good

      Probably because this would require a lot more land than the average farm has access to. Of course people would then be whining about runoff from pig poop and we'd be back at square one. All these nut cases crying over anything make everything a no-win proposition for anybody.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
      • watergirl

        Which is why it has to go back to local, small farms.

        June 8, 2012 at 8:55 am | Reply

        Gee, I didn't know 'pig poop' just magically disappears at a factory farm.

        June 10, 2012 at 5:43 am | Reply
  6. JanetMermaid

    There's no controversy. They are WRONG. If we have to tie, pen, chain, or abuse animals just so we an get enough food out of them then we're doing it wrong. Maybe if there were a few billion less people on the planet, and we in the west weren't all such fat slobs, animals wouldn't have to suffer so we could have our 99 cent bacon burger.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  7. slk

    any cruelty ........I will choose another form of food.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  8. Observer

    I fail to see what the big deal here is. The animals obviously don't mind it that much, hence they don't escape. Likewise, their lives have a purpose, and they are well fed and cared for because of their slaughter value.

    What next, should we go to what's left of Detroit and protest assembly lines? Oh, the horror!

    June 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Steve_PA

      Sort of like a maximum security prison – the prisoners obviously don't mind it much since they don't escape????

      June 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
    • Peter

      Let's put you in a crate and see if you don't mind it so much. Pffff...

      June 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
      • leewald

        yes, but I've experienced something better. These pigs don't know of anything better thus this is normal. Kinda like a pet dog that lives in a two room apartment vs one that lives on a 100 acre farm.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Allison

      Maybe you should try watching the linked video of the conditions uncovered in Wyoming before you make such an ignorant statement. Many of these animals are NOT well cared for. Dead and rotting piglets strewn across the floors, people kicking and tossing babies like soccer balls, sick pigs laying with flies gathering in their mouths, employees punching, kicking, screaming at sows, including those too injured and sick to move is not what I would constitute as being "well-treated". Treatment like this is utterly despicable, vile, and unforgivable.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Reply
  9. JMO

    The current system of industrial farming HURTS small farmers. These factory conditions decrease the price of every commodity from eggs to pork bellies. It forces the small producers to buy extremely expensive equipment, go deeper into debt just to keep up with lowering commodity prices. If you really care about farmers, supporting animal welfare helps the small producers that can't afford the massive operations that these bigger producers use. It also brings a better, healthy product to the consumers.

    I raise free range goats and chickens and these "big guys " can break and bend the rules of common sense. Don't get suckered into their big-ag propoganda.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • Anthony

      The current system of _______ hurts smale scale _______. Generally speaking that's how capitalism works. I think you have a problem with capitalism first and foremost, which is a perfectly acceptable viewpoint. But please don't decorate your views with a care for animal rights, whether they be legitimate or contrived.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
    • leewald

      Hate the factory farm but I bet you don't mind the price of food that they bring?

      June 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  10. bob

    Either you respect all life or no life

    June 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Lobster Good

      I'd respect those pigs a lot more if they'd just cook themselves and be waiting on the kitchen table for me when I get home from work today. And a side salad would be nice, too.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
      • Rob

        Lobster is a bottom feeder, you are what you eat!

        June 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
      • Liz

        How about your and your neighbor's dog? Would you like him grilled up with a salad too? I grew up with a pig who lived indoors with us - his name was Edward. He potty trained faster than any of our dogs. Pigs are loyal, smart, emotional animals and I loved Edward very much.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
        • Carnivore

          Lobster, Liz might have something there. If you need it, I have several recipes for dog. Don’t get me wrong, I loved dogs as pets but once they become annoying or to old they suffice as dinner. Liz, when your pet pig died, did you burry him or pay homage by serving him up as dinner.

          June 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
        • Subramanian Venkatraman

          God Bless You for making an animal feel happy while it was living.

          June 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Rob

      Exactly right. Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Everything in this country has taken the Soul of what America stood for, repackaged it and sold shares. The Supreme Court got it wrong when they said a Corporation is like a person. I don't know anyone that would allow their business to treat any living thing this way. Sad...Very Sad.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  11. DoneWithPork

    What a disgusting practice. Farmers that treat their animals this way have no ethics or morals. Animals have feelings just like humans do. I won't be buying pork anymore, and no matter how the grocers label the product, I won't believe it.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Cherries

      If you want to make pork (or beef) part of your menu, buy a whole or half from a small private farm. They do still exsist (I am one).

      June 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
      • Gipsy

        Exactly! My family has a medium size cattle operation and we sell the beef locally. Alot of people in this country don't know that they can go buy even a 1/4 of a beef or pork from a farmer. The taste difference is amazing, you'll pay close to the same price, and have better quality meat.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • Heartland

      Have you been to a pig farm? I encourage you to knock on any pork producer's door and they would be happy to give you a tour. I attest that these sows and their litters are cared for properly.
      If you would like to visit my farm please let me know.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  12. Paul

    Funny – Liberals are all in a tizzy because of a farm pig can't roam around his pen before being slaughtered. However, try to legislate a ban on barbaric gender-based abortions of human babies and they cry "it's the woman's right to choose". So, Insane liberal logic puts pigs before babies. What retards.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • Todd

      I am liberal as f**k and I don't know a single person who thinks aborting a baby because of sex is okay. Where are you getting your info, or are you just making it up? I know people who will abort a baby because it is defective, but that's it.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Perhaps we should ask the pig what it chooses.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • sam

      More idiotic hyperbole from some right wing tool.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply
      • Lobster Good

        More idiotic hyperbole from some left wing tool.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
        • PAULA DEAN - DONG

          Maybe if yer right-wing and yer left-wing worked together you could fly straighter. As it is, yer making me dizzy watchin' you flyin' in circles like yer in a never endin' tail sniffin' contest. But, if you like sniffin' yer rear......

          June 10, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Pepperment P

      I do not support abortions for frivolous reasons, but there is a relevant difference: human fetuses w/o brain stems cannot feel pain or fear. These poor animals do.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
      • AmoebaCollective

        Watch, out Pepperment Patty! That logic is just too sound!

        But, yeah, I agree. I've met people in tears over the death (such as it is) of an embryo dumber than a fly, but utterly callous towards the lives of other animals vastly more intelligent and sentient: such as pigs, dogs, dolphins, and children that are actually born.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
    • ZoeyJ

      You "preach" the value of human life according to God by judging and hating on others. You make assumptions of people you do not even know, attacking their values, morals and standards.
      You then excuse man abusing animals which are God's creation, and excuse the abuse while JUDGING a small percentage of others who believe they have a right to control their own body and soul.
      If an individual does have an abortion that is NOT YOUR BUSINESS, that is between that woman and whatever God she believes in to deal with her actions.
      You believe you are doing the "MISSION" of God by judging, hating and attacking others........God speak's very clearly about the sin of GREED............WHEN WILL YOU LIVE GOD'S WORD AND PREACH ABOUT THE SIN OF GREED ?

      June 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • Dover

      Stupid are on a food blog.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • erich

      I support a pigs right to an abortion if she chooses.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  13. Rachel

    I've been trying to transition over to buying pasture raised meat only. It isn't easy or cheap but I feel like it's the right thing to do. Though honestly if I had a family and could buy a half or whole hog or a half or whole beef from one of the local farmers I use, it would actually be cheaper then going to the grocery store. The real tricky part for me is finding chicken that is reasonably priced.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  14. Guitarist85

    Are you achin' (yep yep yep) for some bacon (yep yep yep)

    June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Id bet money your main instrument of choice is a banjo

      June 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
      • Truth™@bob

        He's quoting a line from the kids' film "The Lion King".

        June 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
      • Liz

        A banjo is the only instrument he's got. Eating bacon and other high-fat foods leads to impotence. Just saying...

        June 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  15. Todd

    I visited a factory farm one time and after spending some time around the animals it is pretty clear that it is pointless to try to make their lives meaningful. Their lives are so far from pleasant that getting rid of the crates wouldn't do a whole lot. Their lives are pretty much a living hell.

    Visit a factory farm, it will make you a vegetarian. Really the only meat I comfortably eat now is from animals that my friends and family raised. I know a lot of people don't have access to family raised animals, but I am fortunate enough to have that.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
    • WordUpToo


      most folks think their plastic-wrapped, pink, shiny meat wafts down from the clouds into their grocery store cooler, they don't realize the true horror of modern-day food supply chain methods.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
      • CHANDA

        right on! see FOOD INC too. modern day food processing is gross and mind boggling.
        In fact, our farm policies are geared to the food manufacturers – not the farmers. Thus, we grow corn and subsidizes corn growers. why? because it's a major ingredient in many things. This has caused us to have e.coli. Cows aren't meant to eat corn they are made to eat grass. Pigs weren't meant to live in crates either.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • Liz

        Amen. I was almost brought to tears yesterday at the grocery store. I'm a vegan and the customers in front and behind me were buying shrink-wrapped bacon and some sort of diced steak. Can you not see the BLOOD? Cruel world.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  16. Confused

    For those of us who DO eat meat, when the price starts going up because the baby pigs are being crushed or eaten by the sows and the price skyrockets – well, you'll be complaining about that too. They "sought to breed hybrid pigs with temperaments that were less aggressive and more suitable to communal living" – this statement bothers me. How is this different than the GMO corn that people rebelled against? Let's focus on getting children out of homelessness and poverty and leave farmers alone.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • Sama

      Selective breeding is the old method for farmers. They take animals that have the traits they want and allow them to breed so that their offspring will inherit these traits. GMO is taking something and alterning its DNA using science. The first has been used for thousands of years by farmers. GMO has just started in the last 30-40 years and is an aboration of nature.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    • Ditto

      Exactly! If every farm in the US switched over to organic and strictly pasture practices, we could only feed the state of Texas. We can't feed the world using these practices. Gestation crates benefit the sow and piglets. The sow will crush the entire litter before you can blink. Sows aren't like dogs and kittens, they don't have extereme mothering characteristics. Being a mother is feeding her young. Also, She isn't stressed or scared in a farrowing crate. I am an animal science student who's future includes growing and raising the food for everyone. If people are so against practices such as this, they need to do their research. Go talk to a farmer about this, I'm sure they would love to talk about it.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
      • CMReason

        Really? No mothering instincts? Have you SEEN the video from the Wyoming pig farm? The piglet is taken from her mother and the mother is screaming on the top of her lungs in distress, for which she is beat to death. I have not eaten pork since seeing that video and never will again. If that is not a maternal instinct, I don't know what is.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
      • AmoebaCollective

        And yet a wild sow will kill anything that tries to take her piglets. I'm not denying that sows will kill piglets, they certain will, but the reality is a bit more complex. They remind me of bears, actually. Bears are extremely defensive of their cubs, but mothers WILL eat their own cubs if they feel a lack in nutrition, or sometimes for seemingly no reason.

        I have know cat mothers that were execellant nurturers; I had one cat that ignored her kittens and behaved as if they were not there. You can't paint them all with one brush.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  17. Margo

    It is apparent that the people in today's culture have absolutely no compassion for feeling for anything but themselves. Why don't they live in a crate, think what it would save on...gas, emissions, food, murder...and the list could go on. Some of these comments sicken me.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  18. AmoebaContingent

    Reading all the comments that run along the lines of "We're human, so we get to eat pigs no matter how much suffering they endure, because AREN'T animals or they ARE'NT humans", makes me wonder if any other animal besides us became capable of understanding and utilizing human speech, if there would be humans that would still insist on eating that animal even as it insisted on keeping its life.

    I'm no animal rights activist by any means, and I have no problem with eating meat on principle, but it is simply ignorant to believe that pigs do not feel or suffer or think. They are as clever as the most intelligent dogs and more intelligent than most of them. You cannot wish away that fact. They FEEL. They SUFFER. We owe it to them from one intelligent being to another to ensure that they are treated with as much care for their welfare as possible and not let base needs get in the way. Better yet, we could stop eating them altogether and only kill pigs for research and medical usage. We don't actually NEED to eat pigs specifically to live. Plenty of people in the world don't eat pigs and live just fine.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  19. Tr1Xen

    Part of the "it doesn't really to me," bunch! :)

    June 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  20. sam

    people could also argue the fact that the way chickens are raised in the US is just as cruel if not even worse. some chickens do not even see the light of day during their entire lifespan. the food industry in the US can be pulled many different ways making many different arguments. either way the food system in America is quite hidden from consumers.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • CHANDA

      it is terrible, FOOD INC really spells out what is going on in our modern food supply. it is sickening. Farm policies are geared towards the manufacturer, not the farmer.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  21. queenbeeee

    Animals were put on earth for us to utilize them, but not to ABUSE them.
    We can still use them for food, but to expose them to inhumane conditions and cruelty is just awful.
    The key is compassion and humanity for animals and ALL the living things of the earth and the earth, too.

    June 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      Nothing was "put" here. Therin lies the flaw undermining your entire argument.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Lee qeenbeee is not trying to sound religious but this is a religious post because they think they can use anything on earth

      June 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  22. Tammy

    WOW .... What is disappointing about this is how social media can be used to twist the truth to achieve big salaries for activest groups that represent a small % of the population. And in the end, the activest will be wealthier while the rest of us will have to pay more for food while we all ask "Why are more people hungry and our food cost is higher". All becuase we have brought value of human life DOWN to the level of animal's. Treat animals with repspect not rights, which most farmers do. If you want to make a difference, start working on HUMAN causes, not animals.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • David

      Whether or not you care about the animals, you can at least care about your own health. These crates are breeding grounds for disease.

      Also, activist is spelled activist.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
      • wyobob

        Apparantly you have never seen the normal habitat in pig farms (aka pig sty), with the pigs wallowing in the mud, excretement and their food. The crates are a perfect place, the pigs are happy, all they have to do is eat and poop.
        While you are at it, you should force the farmers to stop planting their crops, and have them just throw the seeds on the ground.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • Not

        Breeding ground for disease? This is false.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • Sammy Whammy

      We are nothing more than animals ourselves. Why are our lives so much more valuable than any other animal?

      June 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      Last I looked, a lot of Americans are overweight anyway.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • AmoebaContingent

      Why can't you care for both? Since when did caring for humans and nonhuman animals become mutually exclusive of one another? Why treat everything as if it were a zero-sum game?

      June 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • Patrish

      Farmers don't treat them right, they do abuse and it's been caught on tape numerous times.Humane farming is slowly catching on, and I, as a consumer support it. People want to eat meat fine, but allow those poor creatures that you will eventually eat, to live a some what decent life, free from pain and abuse until their lives must end. They feel pain and discomfort just like you and I do and have emotions. BTW pigs are very smart, Smarter than dogs... so compassion for these creatures is essential in my book.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  23. Lee S

    Since pigs are so smart why dont they gang up on the people that control them even after they have slaughtered their loved ones time after time after time, probably even right in front of them. Running up to the hand that feeds you and wil eventually kill you is not neccesarily a sign of intelligence. What is a sign of intelligence is that humans have been able to over the course of thousands of years, turn animals into willing meals.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
    • austin_tech

      I think I actually became dumber after having read this application of false logic.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
      • Lee S

        You provided zero reasons why it was what you say it is. Typical.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      @austintech, all you have to do is look at how pigs in the wild, or any other animal in the wild responds to humans, and then see how the domesticated version of that animals responds. it doesnt take a genius to figure it out.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      I do agree with you on your post below. It all comes down to supply and demand If people could keep their reproductive and eating habits in check none of this would be neccessary. Even if all that was in order there still would be a demand for meat products.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • Delphi

      Oh right, because pigs have so many options for fighting back. Those stockpiles of weapons buried under the breeding crates, for example. Oh wait, no opposable thumbs...

      June 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
      • Lee S

        Well, any truly intelligent animal would recognize their superioirity in numbers and overall strength and be able to coordinate, wait, we are still talking baout pigs arent we? You answered your own question.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • AmoebaContingent

      I don't know, if human embryos didn't like being aborted, why don't they fight back?

      June 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • WordUpToo

        AC – I am loving you right now

        June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
      • truefax

        Oh but they do AC. The actually try and get out of the way and if you've seen the videos you can see their little faces screaming. You should try watching one.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • A P

      Haha - let me guess: if you had a mentally retarded child or sibling, you'd eat her too, wouldn't you? If it's unintelligent it should be exploited, right?

      June 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  24. ProFarmer

    I have farmed for 14 years for many types of operations and have worked for the USDA for over 5 years at this time. I have worked with hundreds of farmers in my state. I have rearely seen a 2 foot wide gestation crate. Most pregnant sows could not fit in a crate that size. I have rarely seen a farmer confine all his hogs to a crate for their entire life. I have seen farmers use crates to protect piglets from sows like many other people have mentioned and this is standard and to protect all involved. This lasts for a few weeks at a time twice a year. Don't we confine mothers to beds during and after birth? Don't we put our babies in cribs and play pens to keep them safe?

    HSUS is a joke. Less than 1/4 of their cash instake last year went to animal programs. Check out the fat pay checks their exec's get as well as the size of their retirement funds. Support your local farmer. Most are knowledgable folks who want to do what their customers are asking for. Go and ask for grass fed beef, ask for humane raised animals, and I bet you will be surprised how many local farms already do this.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • JFritz

      I wish it were so easy. Most people can't afford grass-fed, humanely raised meat. How much easier just to eat plant food. There is no reason in the 21st century to use meat as food. We are only feeding an addiction that is killing us. Humans no longer do hard physical labor to work off the animal fat. It's time to see vegetable foods as the way to go.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
      • WordUpToo

        Yessir! that's the answer. Won't get the neanderthals to join up, but thanks for trying.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
      • Brad

        I'm sorry but you're delusional if you think that no humans do hard work. Have you ever been outside of the U.S. or even outside of a city in the U.S.? Millions of people work 16 hours a day on their feet doing back breaking labor. It's this mentality of trust-fund baby hippies that have no concept of hard work that is so ludicrous. If I laid around sucking off the government teet all day and talking about what I think people should do I would only need a vegetable diet as well. Get a life.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
      • Mshepard

        Have you lost your mind? So, your logic is that humans no longer do the phyical labor (really?) needed to work off animal fat. You have lost it. Meat is essential to the human body in every way. ONLY when abused does it become a health problem.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
        • Liz

          All amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) we need to thrive are found in plant food. There is no physiological reason we need to eat meat. Science, check it out sometime.

          June 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • kiminga

      You are so right. There are tons of local farmers out there who treat their animals really well. Most of them are more than happy to take you for a tour and show you everything. These are my sources for meat and it's really NOT that crazy expensive. Yes you do have to buy in bulk, but a chest freezer really isn't that expensive and can hold a LOT of meat. I bought 1/2 hog that will be ready in July – – $220 for ~70 lbs of meat. What a great deal! And then animal was 100% pastured its whole lift.

      If you wanna be a vegetarian for ethical reasons, have at it. But don't pretend that there aren't excellent options for sources of meat that are good for you, the animal, and the environment. They're out there, just not if you only shop in the narrow aisles of the grocery store. Expand your horizons to locals farms, CSAs and farmer's markets and you'll find so much more! With my diet being nearly 100% meat and vegetables, these are my go-to sources for organic, grassfed, pastured food.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  25. Rooibos

    We don't "need" to consume animals because we are PRIMATES and it's not necessary or even suitable for our physiology to eat flesh, eggs or milk of other species. If it were, I'd have been dead sometime during the last 25 years – since I am vegan. Never ill, healthiest person in my age cohort and medical practitioners love me – I show up for my checkup once a year and they have little or nothing to do. Can't beat it. Insurers love it, too.

    Besides, if you agree that slavery is wrong, then it's wrong in EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE – not just the ones that profit some or gratify another's selfish pleasures. Animals don't belong to us and they shouldn't be treated this way. Unless you are willing to trade places with another being, don't be so quick to hide behind some religion or your own selfishness by condemning another being to suffer *FOR* you. That's not our "right" as humans.

    Think about it!

    June 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  26. No Question

    DarthPug/heroic aren't any type of human beings I want to be around, that's for sure. Not religious at all, don't support PETA, not a liberal, but trolls and classless, uncompassionate scum are pretty easy to spot, that's for sure. It seems the neanderthal genes are still going strong in homo sapiens. Be careful who you breed with people. You might poop out one of these losers.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  27. Toto

    If you enjoy meat, and meat on the vast scale we can produce it. Stop complaining. If you like to BBQ, stop complaining. Unfortunately to live in a society with meat around every corner and available in basically every restaurant that chooses to sell it, these things must happen.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • austin_tech

      Yes. How else are we going to continue to have exploding obesity rates in our adults and children and our kids getting type 2 diabetes unless we can keep meat cheap!! Screw those pig-hugging liberals, let's eat!!!! MMMMM!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
      • cale

        meat is not the problem...sugar is

        June 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
        • queenbeeee

          agreed! AND ultra-processed flour and starch products that turn to sugar after eating them.

          June 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Nonsense. I choose with my pocketbook. I pay the price to buy my meat from Wholefoods only. Clearly, many others agree with me since economic pressure is triggering these changes. Good for us! I also ask restaurants where they get their meat, how it was raised, etc. If they can't answer my questions, or don't answer them to my liking, I explain to the waiter that I will not be buying the more expensive meat entrees, even though I want them, because of their policies. This of course costs the owner money. I also explain that, since his/her tip is based on the tab, he/she will be receiving less of a tip due to the lesser cost of the non-meat entrees, despite him/her doing the same work. I encourage him/her to explain these financial losses to his employer.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  28. LemonZest

    Karma will work it's magic, it always does.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • heroicslugtest

      Karma is a lie that the weak tell themselves after they are taken advantage of or beaten.

      Whatever you have to tell yourself, I guess.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
      • abbie normal

        @heroicslugtest....sounds like you're fearful of karma. btw, it does exist. see...bin laden, jeffrey dahmer, o j

        June 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
        • heroicslugtest

          No, and no. You're referring to justice, not karma. OBL and JD were killed for their by humans.

          Not by a mystical energy force that keeps a running tally on our good and bad deeds.

          Thats a fairy-tale you tell kids so they don't misbehave. Hate to break it to you, but Jesus and Santa aren't real either.

          June 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Derp

      Invoking karma? Save the pigs, it's good karma, but let's not worry about starving people, pestilence, war, or any of those other people problems. They don't matter so much, karmically speaking, do they. This article is noting but a distraction to real world problems, and the comments on this article show how screwed up our priorities are.
      Shame on CNN for pushing these fluff pieces, and shame on the public for tolerating it.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
      • abbie normal

        it wouldn't be such a fluff piece if YOU were residing in a crate for your natural life. no one is ignoring all the other problems, this is just ANOTHER problem. humans aren't the only living things on this planet; other living things deserve respect.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
        • Derp

          I'd love to see you confront someone who's lost their family to starvation or genocide to tell them that you care more about a pigs living space than their suffering.

          June 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  29. Steven T.

    We are such a brutal, distructive, cruel, parasitic species. Yes there are a few people that try to do their best for the inviroment, other people and animals but unfortunatly too few. Unless mankind evloves into something greater than we are, we as a species is doomed. Do your best!

    June 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  30. WillS

    Factory animal farming methods like this are the one of the big reasons I'm vegetarian. With all the antibiotics, steroids, and hormones they give the animals, and the cruel, albeit (sometimes) healthy conditions they live in, I have no interest in anything that comes from a factory farm.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  31. Don't base your opinion from Texas Tech's evaluation tool

    I would not trust the reliability of the measurements produced from Texas Tech, as they have horrendous animal welfare practices and double standards. To place merit in the evaluation system and improve the quality of life for the animal, while considering the economic restraints of the farms; I suggest the Pork Board establish a new measurement standard from an institute better able to produce ethical results. In conjunction, if the gestation crates are to be improved, then the farrowing crates should be equally improved and piglet survivability and health should be investigated.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  32. Scott Brenneisen

    Go vegetarian and be part of the solution not the problem. Supply and demand!

    June 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      And yet there's so much debate about abortion at the fetal stages. Humans are so vain and cruel.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
      • WordUpToo

        stay on topic Bob, this is an article about sows, not an unborn cluster of human cells.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
      • Liz

        I believe in logic. I'm a vegetarian because eating meat is not an efficient way to eat. Instead of the pig eating the plant food and me eating the pig, I'd rather just eat the plants in the first place. You save on water, energy, suffering, healthcare expenses, and waste this way.

        Regarding abortion: I don't think a human life should be brought into the world when the mother doesn't want it. Whether or not the baby feels pain when it is aborted may be debatable (depending on the stage), but a lifetime of pain from terrible parenting is surely more.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  33. John

    Don't eat meat. You don't need it for health. It is all cruel, unnecessary, and damages the environment. The question isn't are gestation crates OK, it is why are we taught that eating the flesh of other creatures is OK. As Paul McCartney so aptly said; the reason people eat meat is because there are no windows on slaughter houses.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • DarthPug

      yeah i mean because paul mccartney is such a f**king visionary. CMON WAKE UP!!! We are top of the food chain, we have incisors, our bodies are make to break down and process meat...what else do you need to know? Oh yeah...I'm sorry...all that fact is skewed by some hippy song writer from the 60s.

      Come down to earth and visit the rest of some might like it.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • heroicslugtest

      I'm eating a piece of fried chicken and a pork sparerib as I read your post.

      Delicious. Thinking I'll go back to Asimov for the reading material, though.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
      • JFritz

        You can get rid of the "heroic" and "test" in your handle. What's left is perfect.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
      • austin_tech

        Keep eating that factory chicken, bubba. I can hear you getting fatter.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
      • heroicslugtest

        Lol. Wow, you guys are full of hate.

        Good luck with those aneurysms.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
        • Liz

          I have compassion for you as I once didn't make the connection between my meal and the animal it came from. I'd love for you to see the truth - once you do, you can't ignore it. I just hope your diet doesn't kill you first.

          Vegan = compassion and love

          June 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Fhithich

      Really? The reason my mother eats meat is because she's allergic to soy and nuts, and she's anemic and those iron tablets give her intense stomach pain/constipation.

      Also, on the subject of gestation crates, I'm siding with the farmers on this one, simply because I HAVE raised animals before, and I can tell you, it's super hard to keep a bunch of breeding females together without them competing over resources. (Even if they have enough to go around, they will still compete. If you raise parakeets, you literally need two times the number of nest boxes per parakeet and even then sometimes females will just decide to claim ALL the boxes.) And when they start fighting, it stresses the animals out and their quality of life plummets.

      Now, do I wish the pens were a little bigger? Yeah, it'd be nice if they could turn around. But for the pigs own safety, they should NOT be kept in group housing.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • WildGameIsGreat

      Paul McCartney is an idiot. Roughly 50% of the meat I consume comes from wild game that I harvested myself. I didn't need to see someone else kill that animal from inside a slaughter house. I watched them all die through my rifle scope.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
      • Lobster Good

        Amen to that!

        June 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
      • Natalie

        It is factory farming (Notice, I did not say farming) that has inhumane practices. With regards to game hunting, the animal usually leads a "normal" life until it is very quickly put to death by the hunter. Generally, hunting is humane. I bet most hunters would not be comfortable with factory farming or factory slaughter house practices. For many of us, it is not killing and eating animals that is the problem- instead the problem is the inhumane practices associated with mass production.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
    • theshoeminator

      Ask him how Linda is doing. Oh wait, SHE'S DEAD.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  34. Natalie

    I will only buy meat from animals that have been raised humanely and slaughtered humanely. I live in the USA, where the vast majority of us have plenty to eat and many, many of us are overweight. In my opinion, meat in the USA is not a necessity but a luxury. I think changes that lead to treating animals more humanely, even if it raises the price of pork by a few cent per pound, are completely worth it.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Sam the Sham

      How do you "humanely" slaughter anything? By the term itself it should be an acceptable way to do away with a person. I believe that you should not eat anything that you, personally, would not be willing to kill, dress, clean, and cook. That would move many to vegetarianism.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
      • WordUpToo

        Amen Sam the Sham! Well said.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
      • Natalie

        Some methods are far more humane than others. Instantaneous unconsciousness via a captive bolt is humane. Chickens and other poultry are not covered by the Humane Slaughter Act and do not get the privileged to be rendered unconscious before the slaughter process begins. I think the USA should amend the Act to cover poultry and all other animals slaughter for human consumption.

        Here is an article about captive bolt stunning:

        June 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  35. JMO

    The current system of industrial farming HURTS small farmers. These factory conditions decrease the price of every commodity from eggs to pork bellies. It forces the small producers to buy extremely expensive equipment, go deeper into debt just to keep up with lowering commodity prices. If you really care about farmers, supporting animal welfare helps the small producers that can't afford the massive operations that these bigger producers use. It also brings a better, healthy product to the consumers.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  36. Canopy

    Now I see why greed is a sin.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • heroicslugtest

      That's right. Praise the dear and fluffy lord.

      Also, Paypal me all your money. It will enhance your quest for enlightenment.

      It'll enlighten your pocketbook at least.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  37. just a human

    i'm a vegan (ten years plus) and a strict vegetarian for more than a decade before that. never liked meat or milk as a kid and happen to love animals, too. i do my thing passively and try to practice ahimsa.

    i'd love for animals to, at the very least, have the right to move around. to stay confined for life...oh what a life that isn't. i wouldn't wish that upon anyone. to spend a life without the joy of moving, the ability to stretch if you feel the need.

    it's a travesty for any being and i'm glad some awareness is being brought to these issues lately. there is so much that needs improvement - with human lives, with the lives of our animal friends, and with the environment. glad to see a bit of compassion spreading.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • DarthPug

      Hey buddy..why don't you read some of these other posts and do some research as to when these types of crates are actually used. The sad part about you libtards is that you just take an article, from a leftist rag like cnn, for its word. After you find out what these crates are really used for you have to come to one of two conclusions #1 The reporter is HORRIBLE and didn't do his job to investigate this correctly or most likely #2 cnn, the reporters are editors are typical leftist pigs with an agenda to push.

      Let me know what you think.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
      • JMO

        OK then, since you are the expert, how are they used?

        June 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
      • WordUpToo

        I vote that you spend the rest of your life in an area just a few inches wider and longer than your likely ample body.

        GO VEG!

        June 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
    • Jen

      Ok Darthpug, we get it. You are extremely unintelligent. You don't need to keep pointing it out. You criticize the article but trust the people that post they own pigs (and therefore their only concern is profit). These sows are kept pregnant constantly, so they are almost always in these crates. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see it is cruel. Anyone who looks at the picture and has common sense can see this. And this is why several huge companies will no longer allow it.

      There's nothing wrong with wanting to treat animals humanely. Pigs are smarter than dogs. Would you do this to a dog? If you would, you may want to get treatment because most serial killers also enjoy torturing animals.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  38. Lee S

    These are not wild pigs. This is what these animals are bred to do, provide us with food. There are plenty of wild pigs out there blissfully frolicing in nature, and then being brutally murdered by packs of wild dogs for food. Just think of that when you are eating a delicious BLT. Ask yourself this, whats the greatest invention since bacon? I couldnt think of anything either.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Well, Slaves were born and raised to be slaves, but that does not make it right.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
      • Freygunnr

        Ha! Great reply!

        June 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
      • Lobster good

        Are you comparing black slaves to pigs? Better not say that too loudly. Otherwise you'll be on TV with Jesse and Al, telling everyone how you talked to your black friends and they explained why this was so offensive and that you're terribly sorry for offending anyone.

        June 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      MIke you forgot to explain how that makes any sense at all. Most people that were slaves were captured after living free for most of their lives. Why do you think the slave triangle peristed for such a ling time? Nice try though.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      When I say not wild pigs I meant like, these animals have been bred over thousands of years to be food. Same with every single other food or vegetable or fruit out there. Heck, look at dogs and cats. Domestication has been going on for ten thousand years. Get your head out of your butt.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
      • WordUpToo

        just because they were bred for food does not diminish their need for physiologic and emotional comfort. Their sentient nature was not bred out of them. They still you?

        June 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
        • Lee S

          Why dont you go talk to them about it then? You wont be happy until they have a psychiatrist out there making sure the pigs are mentally fit to be slaughtered will you? That how ridiculous people like you sound.

          June 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
        • Lobster good

          Maybe they'd like to sit on the couch next to Tony Soprano and talk to Dr. Melfi about how their mom was an evil sow and that's why they're so messed up in the head.

          June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  39. mastercrow

    I think farm animals should be treated decently and allowed more space and motion. It is just not right to use these crates, same with the chickens that get put in cages that they cannot stand in or turn around. We have chickens but never cage them in small cages. We use rolling pens, not fully free range but they have lots of room and the whole system rolls so that every few days we move them to clean ground and they love pecking around on fresh ground not covered with poo. We get plenty of good eggs never a problem and they are healthy birds who actually like when they see us coming because they know that when they see us it means something good like fresh food, water, moving pen to fresh ground or every once in a while just talking to them, dogs even like to say hey to the birds.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • mastercrow

      I read some post from farmers who say the crates are used for short periods to protect the young. If that is the case I see no problem. The article indicates that they are often used for life of the pig and that would be wrong, I don't care if it protects piglets there needs to be some way to allow something more of a normal life for an animal. So short term use for reasons said seems fine but long term life sentence in a tiny crate seems cruel for any animal.

      I hunt on occasion and I have no problem killing an animal that I am going to eat but when I hear about hunting for trophy only I think that is wrong. I am pretty sure God did not create animals for us to be cruel to or to use as decoration and I am pretty sure if God create all then God loves all

      June 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
      • Lila

        Many people commenting are full of it, they spend most of their lives like this. From the article:

        There are approximately 5.8 million breeding sows living on pig farms across the United States, according to the USDA, and 60 to 70 percent of them spend the majority of their lives in metal-sided stalls that are two feet wide and seven feet long. They are pregnant for most of their lifespan and then moved to a farrowing stall to give birth.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
      • AmoebaCollective

        If the sows are crated ONLY for birthing and a short time thereafter, I would see no issue with it, but as has been pointed out, some industries do it for the life of the animal–which for these intelligent animals is dead wrong. Most people would balk at letting that happen to dogs (which, if the puppies are ill, the dam will sometimes eat her puppies too). The more intelligent pig should be treated no differently. And, why aren't we focusing more on hunting the feral nonnative pigs destroying wildlife habitat in Texas and Florida? I guess the meat isn't what people are used to, but hunting game is more humane than industrial farming.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  40. andyst

    There is always going to be meat eaters. Its not a crime, its not inhumane and its not cruel. It is part of the food chain. How we go about procurring our meat is sometimes questionable and that needs to be looked at. Trying to convert everyone to be a vegan is not in the cards.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  41. Animals > Scum

    No surprise.. there are lots of neanderthals posting about how they couldn't care less whether these animals suffer. How I would love to see you walking piles of offal stuck in a tiny box, unable to move, forced to live your life to serve the dinner plate of some predator. No tears, no regret, no pity.. just a celebration, and a great sense of relief that you're locked away, and unable to pass on your horrible genes to the genepool. The filthiest pigs are > many people who walk this earth.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  42. Vince

    I riase pigs. I know a little bit about it. Gestation crates are used for a short time so the sow doesn't kill her young. Sows are smart animals, but terrible mothers. If left alone they will roll over and kill the babies. If a baby is not doing well, she quite often will bite it and kill it.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  43. Jason

    Any person who thinks "Animal welfare is the last thing in the world I consider" is evil and should be behind bars themselves, period. Yes, people come first, but we are intelligent enough to do things the right way and to ensure that needless suffering does not happen just so someone can make a buck.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • DarthPug let me get this straight. What you're saying is that your way is the right way and the only way. If we don't like to do it that way we should be in jail....let me take a wild guess that you're voting for Obama in November. Am I right? People like you and most of the left scare me because of these types of mentalities.

      How about you read up on these creates. There are many people who wrote posts about what and when they are actually used. You know what? I bet after you read them, even though they are farmers and work with live stock all the time, you'll still think your way is the best way. Just because you're a typical leftist, hipster that wants to save the world by bringing humans down to the level of animals.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • Right wing-nut

        What an idiot!

        June 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
      • JM

        You're an idiot. All he said was humans should be sophisticated enough in 2012 to avoid needless inhumane treatment of animals. And if you don’t think animal welfare is important you probably are a sociopath – Nothing to do with politics just being a moral person.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
        • Right wing-nut

          I was referring to darthpug. My reply was to his stupid remarks.

          June 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • Oink

        Doesn't look like what he's saying at out all.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
      • disgusted

        Yes, there is such a thing as 'right' and 'wrong'. Animal abuse (which this clearly is) is 'wrong' and is immoral and illegal. Those who commit abuse should be jailed (or worse). Those who defend abusers should be ashamed.

        And this is not about 'farmers' doing what is best for the farm- it's about factories doing what is best for the profit margin, at any and all cost to animal suffering.

        And you know what else? People who don't vote for Obama care about animal suffering too- you sir, are in a tiny, tiny minority, and (I suspect) would never dare to speak your twisted mind while your face was showing.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      Jason is the kind of person that thinks mass murderers have "rights" He has no clue about prioritues and sets his own selfish agenda in front of everyone else. He is the perfect example of the failure of our society, I wonder if he knows that people have been slitting the throats of entire herds of livestock for thousand sof years and letting the blood drain out while the animal is still alive, just so they can appease some guy in the sky.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • Right wing-nut

      The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  44. farmboy

    Having seen sows kill piglets when they get tired of having them around, and sows fighting, crates are a more humane way of raising hogs. Pigs aren't like Babe the move. Once a hog starts to bleed, the other hogs will rip it apart and eat it. If a animal is not comfortable, it will not produce as well. Hence, dairy farmers using recycled rubber in matts for the dairy cows to lay on.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • mastercrow

      Well if using for short periods to control violence or cannibalism I can see its merits but the article indicates that it is standard practice with many big farms for the pig to live its life in these tight crates. That is wrong if that happens I know some big chicken producers use tiny cages for life and that is wrong and horrible, think about how you or any animal would feel not to be able to move, walk around, see the ground, fresh air.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  45. Harry Mormon

    Consumption of too much pork can make one stupid!!...explains half the posts on this should "Really" try to cut back a bit.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • DarthPug

      Harry after that statement, and if it were true, you sure you're not sneaking some bacon every now and then? LOL libtard!

      June 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
      • Harry Mormon

        Once again...thank you for proving my point.

        June 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
        • DarthPug

          LOL no thank YOU for proving my point libtard.

          June 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
      • Freygunnr

        Using a variant of a disability as a perjoritive? Really? Can't think of an insult that is insulting to the person and not the disabled? Can't think? Disabled?

        June 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  46. Kiki

    mmmmm, bacon!

    June 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  47. Betsy

    I am a vegetarian and so is my family and each time I come across an article like this I really feel extremely proud that none of my family members are contributing to the sufferings of livestock. If only more people were to move to vegetarianism the world would be a much less free of pain

    June 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Matt

      Plants are living organisms as well.

      June 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • DarthPug

      Betsy...last time I checked...aren't plans "living" organisms too?

      June 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • JustEric

      Posts like yours make me glad I'm not a vegetarian/vegan. I could never stoop to that level to associate with the likes of you "holier than thou" pinheads.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • Parag

      I agree. Live and Let Live !

      June 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Lee S

      Did yout children ever even get a chance to choose for themselves? Be honest now.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • In concurence

      I am vegetarian and feel the exact same pride. I refuse to eat anything with a nervous system (something plants are lacking for all those of you who have such a great degree of trouble making the distinction). We live in an environment that affords us the opportunity to extend our morality further, and all you people can do is be jocund towards the notion that people expect some degree of humanity from you. Don't be so threatened by people trying to make the world a more humane place.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Lobster good

      You should watch that episode of 'South Park' where these overly sanctimonious people drive hybrid cars (Toyota Pius, not Prius) and smell their own farts because they think their (poop) don't stink. You remind me of them.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • unshaven

      and i suppose carrots dont feel pain as you rip them from the nice warm womb ground...or as you twist the neck of a nice ripe lettuce....or hack a pineapple from it's mothers hold.... vegans and peta members are all morons who think they are better than everyone else... but we all know what you are.. lol... look up the word hypocrite..

      June 7, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  48. PainofLovingMeat

    Seriously? We keep harking about Animal welfare, but we eventually kill and eat them! The humane or inhumane treatment does not take away from the fact that we have a ridiculous appetite for meat consumption, and we need these mass farming facilities to find all kinds of ways to feed that appetite. Look at the toll our meat consumption .... losing forested land to grazing, methane in the air from cows, swine flu (and lots of other "flus" that came from the mother of meat eating Guandong, China).

    I even have friends who have grown up not eating any vegetables, their parents just didn't teach them how to, so now they will pull out the lettuce from the burger and pick through any green stuff in their food. This is an absurd planet, 7 billion and growing, yet everyone is adopting this American diet of fat laden junk dedicated to meatietarianism.

    The problem starts at home, if we didn't need to eat so much meat, these farmers wouldn't need to constantly find more efficient ways of - growing meat!

    June 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Freygunnr

      "if we didn't need to eat so much meat" I think you meant "want" not "need" and the fact is we want to and will pay for it and inhumane treatment does take away from that fact. If we want to eat all we can and the animal feels no death-pain but it's life is torture how do humans justify that? A painless death is unlikely but a life should not be torturous. It isn't good for business (shortens livestock lives and weights) and what kind of people does such a system foster? Are these people good for society? Meat eating is a fact, torture is not.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • unshaven

      or adding that lovely pink slime they like to add to hamburger.. disgusting..check out jamie oliver on youtube and search pink slime... thank god they went bankrupt after it hit the news

      June 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  49. andyst

    I do respect those who have chosen not to eat meat. I on the otherhand do eat meat and dont think there is anything unnatural about it. I think that happiness is a relative term. There are some people that are happy lazying on a couch all day. I am sure some animals are that way as well. Animals are driven by three factors food, survival and reproduction. If those factors are taken care of then theoretically they should be happy. I think the question here is does this cause stress to the pig? That I dont know but if they can mitigate that possibility by providing more space then I am all for it.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  50. beadlesaz

    Having read a bit on this subject, I'm pretty much of the opinion that there isn't much to recommend one option over the other. Would I prefer a "first class seat" all to my lonesome but with little room to move. Or, would I prefer a group cage where I could move around a bit but where I could be mortally wounded by another occupant? Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. I believe that most of us are horrified by the photo of the sows laid out in rows in the gestation crates – but we don't see images of the horrors of the alternative.

    Setting aside the vegetarian lifestyle (which I'm not going to adopt), the option that most of us would love to see is the idyllic farm with happy pigs in huge pens by themselves. But how many American consumers would be willing to purchase pork (or beef, or chicken, or whatever) at a significantly higher price?

    June 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
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