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 (863 Responses)
  1. darmon

    another attack on american farmers? all this will do is just move pig farms overseas and meat will be more expensive. another job to be outsourced. like you hypocrites really care how you got your bacon.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Hey, fu#$ pig, buddy. My dad fought for the the freedom of some cafo owners who are buys poisioning his air and water. Production is putrid and we're tired of your sick, poisonous ways, Umerikun Farmers!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • die die

      because it's all about humans, even though you seem to have a lot of hate toward them. no concern whatsoever about the living animals we use and abuse. good message.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • bannister

      Let's put your children in a crate.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • LittleGuy

      It's not the farmer Its the huge corporate farms that government subsides. The small farmer would love to get the subsidies that these huge mega corp get...

      June 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • Netmonger

      If you read the article, you'd see that consumers are dictating that pork buying companies buy their pork from farmers who dont torture their animals in gestation cages, and that it can actually be cheaper. Its what the majority of people want. The only people who will uy pork from overseas will be the ones who dont care how the pigs are treated – and they will be the minority.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • PAULA DEAN - DONG

      Hey, Darmon!! Woo-eee, you work at a hog farm?? Sendin' Bar-BEEEE-Que sauce out to other countries to whip up is next, don't ya think, son??
      I have a mighty fancy closet you might like to stand in the rest of your life. It has a 'Bacon-Scented Air Freshner' to mask your farts.
      Gotta go, them Smithville Ham folks are fixin' to show me their big tennis courts.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:43 am | Reply
    • watergirl

      The old GOP tactic that if you don't conduct business how they want to conduct it, means that that will go overseas, is old and dried out. It doesn't work that way.

      Considering most countries have higher standards then the US, it is harder then you think.

      June 8, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
  2. armchrexpert

    Pork and all red meats are terribly unhealthy. Study after study has found they cause high cholesterol and heart disease. They should all be regulated like smoking and alcohol.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Reply
    • thefatnurse

      Study after study shows the high cholesterol from red meat causes heart disease? What studies? Nothing on that is conclusive.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
      • ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

        Uhmm... cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease? There aren't any studies? O.k., perhaps you might like to join the flat earth society. Here's their website: http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/

        June 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Reply
        • thefatnurse

          LOL yes I use to believe that it was as simple as high cholesterol = risk of heart disease and was just as shocked to learn there wasn't much support for that idea in the literature. Again, there is no conclusive evidence that dietary cholesterol from meat causes heart disease.

          June 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
      • unshaven

        thefatnurse.... the name says it all i guess...hahaha... just try everything in moderation.. not that i do, i do the opposite and i am thefatman, but at least i know that is what is healthy and i just choose to eat and drink more than i should.. and i dont crap on ppl who dont know the difference... lol

        June 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
        • thefatnurse

          TheFatNurse likes fats ;-) Not sure where you got the idea that I'm "crap[ing]" on people in my posts tho, people should feel free to eat what they want!

          June 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Andrew

      They're also a carbon nightmare. I'm tired of supporting white, fascist republicans without jobs! Screw farm welfare!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • CanAmFam

        Amen Andrew!

        June 8, 2012 at 2:38 am | Reply
    • theshoeminator

      Correlation does not imply causation. Those studies also revealed that the people with the highest rates of cancer and heart disease were heavy meat eaters AS WELL AS heavy smokers and drinkers. I'd put a wager that the smokes and liquor did those people in, not the meat. We've been eating meat since pre-humans started walking upright.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
      • Andrew

        Endless correlation is also known as truth.

        June 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
      • watergirl

        Because most likely that person doesn't get any exercise. And is it the meat? or the endless hormones, and chemicals that they put in it?

        June 8, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
  3. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    They mention 'farmers' in the article. They sound more like 'meat manufacturers'.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • PAULA DEAN - DONG

      Do flashing cleavers and usin' ninja-knife skills while whippin' up a little piggy for din-din count as manufacturin'?

      June 8, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
  4. hollistergrant

    This cruelty to pigs, and the same kind of terrible treatment to chickens where they are not allowed to walk outside a cage, is why I stopped eating meat and eggs. Pigs are intelligent animals that were made by nature to live in the woods. Human beings make me sick. There is no reason in the world to treat any living thing like this.

    June 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Reply
    • Glasswalls

      You are so right- I am a veggie too- I don't understand why all of these carnivores can't recognize that these animals are a gift on this planet and if we are going to eat them- they ought to get the respect of being treated with care and not being so horribly abused- I am not against local farmers that provide proper housing and allow their animals to graze, it's not my choice to eat meat, but I am not really against meat, I am against torture. These large factory type facilities are horrific in their animal abuse. As a nation we protect dogs and cats and we would never accept anyone keeping pets in a gestation crate, why is it ok to do that to livestock? Why save one and kill the other? In China they round up stray dogs, hog tie them, tape their mouths shut and shove them in crates, stack the crates up in a truck, drive them to the market and slaughter them. We would never allow that in America, yet the animals we are blessed with for our food supply we treat as badly as those dogs in China, And anyone who has eaten kosher beef has eaten an animal that has been BRUTALLY treated, kosher meat done in large scale factory farming is really cruel-like something out of a Rob Zombie flick. The average carnivore eats 100 animals a year- I bet they would eat a lot less meat if they had to own it and kill it themselves. The thing I don't get is why anyone defends these cruel practices and it shouldn't take TEN years to phase out gestation crates, but I am glad to see that people are looking at these practices and that the public demand for decency is beginning to be heard.

      June 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
      • Lady Morgahnna

        thanks for stating your views, very refreshing to read something that is literate and thoughtful. I have been a veggie for 25 years and am glad of it.

        June 8, 2012 at 7:21 am | Reply
    • foodinstomach

      Why is no one talking about how we harvest fruits and vegetables. I don't think that using big machines with sharp blades is very nice to the plants. I abstain from eating vegetables that were killed in such an inhumane way. Also they put the plants so close together in rows like if they were n jail or something. They are meant to live free in the forest not just harvested and killed. Our food supply is so broken.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  5. Honest Citizen

    I eat a pound of bacon a half pound of sausage, and 10 pounds of beef per week. My cholesterol is under 150 and blood sugar is under 100. My weight is 165, all since I gave up veggies.

    Keep your vegan diet

    June 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      Unfortunately for you, cholesterol isn't the sole identifier of an unhealthy body. Also, acting uppity about doing something that most any nutrition expert knows is horrible for you doesn't un-stupid your pathetic eating habits. Of course, I could care less how you eat, it's just lame when people act uppity over something that is inherently ridiculous. That take on being an extravert only works when you're around fools.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
      • mariezee

        This sort of comment always cracks me up....how in the heck do you think arctic humans have eaten and survived? There are many peoples who eat a lot of meat at certain times of the year....one size does not fit all. An all meat diet is not bad for everyone. For some, if they eat any other diet they become ill. So it's kinda funny how you rant at someone acting self-important..tee hee!

        June 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply
        • watergirl

          It really comes down to race. You should be eating what your ancestors ate. If you are inuit, yes you can survive on a meat diet. Europeans get sugar spikes from eating rice yet the Asians can surviv on it. It is not a one size fits all.

          June 8, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  6. animalsci89

    Got no problem with removing the gestation stalls just don't take away the farrowing crates. They are there to protect the babies. Squashed babies look so pitiful. Its not a pretty sight when you see the little ones that die because they don't get out of the way.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  7. theshoeminator

    Bring on the militant vegans!

    June 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Stop suckling the welfare-greedy GOP white farmers who do squat for my tax dollars!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
      • Kim

        Say what?

        June 8, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
      • dj

        Stop eating then because we GOP – white farmers feed your miserable existence whether you eat meat or not. People like you with your obvious lack of intelligence will be the first to starve to death when the grocery shelves are empty. Us GOP – white farmers will just have to get on with feeding our own, because we can.

        June 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  8. cbasurto87

    HolyJeeebus
    You sound like you are very unhealthy eating your Wendy’s and double bacon crap. Yes, animals are not human but they feel fear, sadness and happiness just like people.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  9. membar

    Let's Not Forget

    Your "meat" comes from a creature who has met
    A hideous and most untimely death
    Nor is it seemly when upon your dish
    Lie corpses of a murdered bird or fish.

    One fleeting glimpse of any factory farm
    Would make the vilest soul cry in alarm.
    The chickens, cows and pigs – their lives obscene
    Degraded to meat, milk and egg machines.

    The cows, their fate sealed at the slaughter house,
    Can hear their friends in front of them cry out.
    If we pretend that of this they know not,
    We grossly underestimate their lot.

    The chickens, five crammed tightly to a cage
    Oft peck their mates in frightened fits of rage.
    The light which blinds these creatures night and day
    Adds sin and cruelty to each egg they lay.

    The male chicks not appealing to our taste,
    Are tossed alive in bags to our great haste.
    This writhing heap of bodies is no lie.
    Eventually, they suffocate and die.

    To better understand a dairy cow
    Try picturing this horrid scene somehow:
    You're pumped with drugs, you're pregnant and you hurt.
    And then your child is robbed from you at birth.

    She is no mere automaton, I say.
    She mourns the loss of her child several days.
    The farmers steal your milk from you and then
    For profit's sake, they knock you up again.

    The child, a girl will share her mother's fate
    If he's a boy, he's off to the veal crate –
    A squalid, filthy stall not two feet wide.
    He ne'er sees light and cannot turn inside.

    A pig's life is the cruellest life around.
    The female lies immobile on the ground.
    The males can sexually enter her at will.
    Her infants suck her nipples through a grill.

    Since they've no space, insanity prevails.
    And normally, they'd bite each others tails.
    For farmers, this would cause a profit drain.
    So tails are yanked at birth with squeals of pain.

    The more we hide from these injustices
    The less we find we know what justice is.
    We spare our cats and dogs from such "misuse",
    So why allow the other cruel abuse?

    These are no more automatons, I say.
    They're feeling creatures tortured night and day.
    By people who in numbness feel no more,
    For use by us who in our haste, ignore!

    Here is a cause that rests on naught but us
    And though at first we kick and scream and fuss,
    We find in time a wholeness that will last
    Despite the horrors of our actions past.

    Those of religion, here's a truth today.
    In front of you. It will not go away.
    This is your trial; if you should shut it out.
    Then, say, what is religion all about?

    June 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  10. Conundrum

    The real and truly humane solution is to adopt a plant-based diet and stop consuming animal protein altogether. I loved meat, eggs and dairy, but after I gave them up I found that in a very short time I no longer wanted to eat these products. Also, there was the added benefit of a huge improvement in my overall health. Just sayin'.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
    • t-j robert smooth

      but if u give alls thatz up then where you gonna get some protein

      June 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
      • tad1384

        if you do any kind of research into a plant-based diet, you will find that the world is full of protein rich foods that you can consume that are not animal based. the notion of NEEDING meat to get protein is a myth and fast becoming outdated.

        June 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
      • Kristen @ A Butterfly She Became

        Plant-based protein comes from many sources... nuts, nut butter, beans, lentils, soy (tofu, tempeh), seeds, quinoa, grains, even some from vegetables... it's unfortunate that in America all people know is meat = protein, when truly it comes from SO many plant sources...

        June 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Reply
      • Andy

        This is a stale argument. Where does the cow get its protein? Why is carrot full of carbohydrates while a peanut is protein and fat? To reduce a living being, food, to a bunch of chemicals shows our primitive levels of thinking in the name of science and logic.

        The least we MUST do to the animals that sustain us, in my opinion, is allow them to eat and live as closely as possible to how nature evolved them.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
      • PAULA DEAN - DONG

        There go the hotdogs. Sheesh.

        June 8, 2012 at 9:26 am | Reply
    • stevie

      just gotta love all you vegans...

      for a human to live, something must die. Vegans are killing more individual lives than meatasaurasus'. Quit being so judgmental. How do you (vegans and veggies) know that plants don't have just as many (or even more) pain centers in their structure?

      Humans (like many other carnivores) can live on a non-meat diet, but that doesn't mean they are healthier. Human anatomy is tailored to an omnivorous diet. Deal with it (both veggies & carnies!)

      jeesh...

      As far as the mistreatment of animals (whether for food or not) I don't like that at all! I eat meat, but only that which I raise, catch, or kill in the wild. (and yes, I eat a good bit of it: fish, chicken and venison mainly). [and no, i don't kill for sport - if there is even such a thing]

      June 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Reply
      • Andrew

        Stevie, do your parents know you're using their computer?

        June 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
        • stevie

          typical response from a person who can't think on their own...

          I would guess you lean toward the window when the sun is out.

          June 8, 2012 at 8:02 am |
      • Lulu

        you are the only person I ever heard of who doesn't kill for sport. My husband hunts, all his friends hunt. Some don't even keep the meat. Many fishermen don't eat fish. It's all about sport. I do love the meat too.

        June 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Reply
        • stevie

          If you don't know anyone who doesn't hunt for sport, then your circle of friends must be very small.

          In my opinion, if you do it for sport, then it is not necessary and you do not respect life.

          June 8, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  11. HolyJeeebus

    You all do realize that they are pigs i.e. animals i.e. NOT PEOPLE, right? I see all these comments equating animals to people which is, frankly, stupid. A 2 year old knows there's a difference between a farm animal and a person.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Reality Check. People ARE animals. Sometimes we're just a little more savage than the rest of them.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Torrence

      The intelligence of a pig is just about equivalent to a 2 year old human.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
      • Andrew

        How dare you call out HolyJeebus like that!!!

        June 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • zny444

      "Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."
      "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
      Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921

      June 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • KImberly Smith

      No animal, human or pig deserves to suffer like that. Even a two year old knows that.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
      • george

        Kim are you a PIG ? If not, how you do you "KNOW" what a pig wants? It is called empathy. I am empathic to plants, that is why I don't mow my grass. Because I KNOW it doesn't like being cut. Don't give any reference to science, because science isn't good enough for animals because YOU KNOW you they feel.

        June 8, 2012 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • Country girl

      In being human we have the resposiblity to treat those lesser than us i.e. animlas, in a humane fashion. I coundn't get past the fact that the pigs are kept in a 2 foot cage, pregnant and can only roll over to 1 side. Sad... I live on a farm and even tho we do eat our farm aminals we strive to treat them with diginty and in a humane manner.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
      • Lulu

        What about horses? They stand in a small stall all day, some can't turn around, their head tied by halter to the manger. Lie down, stand up, eat. Some don't get out for months. Some can't even lie down. I had a horse once and those were the conditions at the stable I kept my first horse at till I found a better one with bigger stalls. These are pets that were treated like that.

        June 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Reply
    • PAULA DEAN - DONG

      I'm not 2yrs. old, but,....yer an animal,...right?? You could be just a stupid pink burrito dressed up in a carrot costume for all we know. How's that typin' with a straw in yer mouth goin' ?

      June 8, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
  12. HolyJeeebus

    Just had a Triple Baconator at Wendy's with extra bacon ... gawd it was nummy ^_^ Sorry veggi-heads but I love me some nummy nummy meat.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      Damn you, now I need to go get a baconator!!

      June 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
    • across12

      HolyJeebus, make sure you buy a grave soon because your cholesterol is 300. You won't reach 50 y. old, mark my words.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • hollistergrant

      HolyJeeebus, save your money. You'll need it for your triple bypass after you have that heart attack.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • Fortheloveof***

      wow...you sound like a VERY ignorant person. go stuff your face you worthless excuse of a human being. you would be better off stuffed in a 2×7 crate than any pig and this world would be a much useful place. I think I just wasted a whole lot of brain cells even reading and responding to your posts. what are you doing even reading CNN...can you even understand this stuff???

      June 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  13. hmmmm

    for all those who voted they didn't care about the animals, please identify ONE think hurting your or your family. I vote that I don't CARE ABOUT YOUR EITHER. why? lack of compassion breeds lack of compassion. the converse is also true.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • HolyJeeebus

      Way to attack others you have never met with poor grammar and 5h1tty spelling. You're a true credit to tofu-chewers everywhere.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
      • PAULA DEAN - DONG

        Holy J yer touchy. You must be a yard wide and 4 inches tall. That's what we know as an ankle biter where I'm from.

        June 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  14. How about

    Maybe someone has mentioned this, but why does it have to be either a tiny cage or group housing? Why can't we do a middle of the road solution and give each pig a double wide enclosure. Take two of the cages in the picture, and combine them with one pig inside. Just judging from the picture they should be able to turn around and move around more in the width provided by the space of two of those cages.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
    • theshoeminator

      That's what I was thinking. Not sure why people think it can only be one or the other.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • bluegillonthefly

      I was thinking that, too. If an individual pen makes it easier to raise them that's great, but why does it have to be so small?

      June 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • KRS

      If they did that, they'd have half as many pigs to raise and half as much bacon to sell which I am certain would cost them more than group housing by a longshot.

      June 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
      • theshoeminator

        Isn't that what farrowing crates are for? To protect the mum from rolling onto her piglets? Gestation crates of such a small size are unnecessary. I can understand keeping them separated because of how aggressive sows can get, but there's no need to keep them immobilized until they have the piglets.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  15. Brian McKinley

    I eat pork and beef. I have no problems with it because these animals would not exist in their numbers if it were not for humans eating them. To me it is as if they have a contract with us to exist and we eat them in return. That said, I strongly feel that these animals should be given as good of a life as possible. I think that if they are given as much room and as long of a life possible and then killed in some way that does not traumatize before the act would be a far more optimal situation. Everything dies, we can give these animals a "happy" life and I for one would feel much better about our unwritten contract with this species. I am looking forward to cloned meat so I can have my hamburger and know that nothing had to die to make it.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
    • Samson

      We would still have to raise and slaughter the cow clones. BUT what if we used cow stem cells from the fat, they've been testing growing organs with them and what not (I think they're just testing on mice, but they're working on it at least). Perhaps one day we can have a couple cows on a field, take stem cells from their fat, and turn it into muscle tissue for human consumption. It would be expensive, but you want to talk about a nonviolent way to eat meat that could be the answer.

      June 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • Fiona

      Brian, that is an ignor ant argument that I have heard in varied forms for God knows how long. Pigs would not exist without man? Wild pigs flourish across the globe. In fact, they are taking over large swaths of the US. Cows would not exist without man? The modern beef cow and dairy cow were created by selective breeding from, first, wild and, then, roughly domesticated bovines. Cows that aren't bred to grow too fast or produce too much milk do very well without us. The deformed modern chicken and the misshapen monster we know as a modern turkey are bred for a life of misery and constant suffering. It would be a blessing for their kind to stop breeding them.

      Don't spew your BS about "contracts". You enjoy eating flesh and don't care what goes into producing it, as long as it's cheap and plentiful. Right? Be honest with yourself or stop eating meat.

      I hope you choke on it.

      June 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
      • Jon Doe

        Ok, now I know that you consider all animals raised for slaughter to be the product of inhumane selective breeding, but last time I checked, life is inhumane. There is suffering and war in all corners of the earth and your biggest concern is the historic suffering of animals? Share some of that compassion with humans, save your venom, and maybe if you act less like you are better than all of us carnivores, we might think you aren't stuck up.

        June 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply
      • doky999

        @Fiona,

        We didn't start killing animals for human consumption in the 20th century. We have been killing animals since the dawn of time. While I do believe that a quick slice of the head is the best way to be killed, these animals are beatened and put in a tiny cage where they cant move their entire life. But we need these animals to support humans diet. HUMANS ARE OMNIVORES not vegans or vegetarians. So don't pull that vegean bullshit. These animals were born for one sole purpose. To make me eat amazing bacon.

        June 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  16. Hand4Paws

    Reblogged this on hand4paws and commented:
    Get to know what is a Gestation Crate...

    June 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  17. Molly

    Perhaps you didn't "read" the article yourself. There is no place in it that says the Pigs "have no preference". Just use you're brain man. Would you prefer to live in a very small cage or have some room to move around? You don't need a study to answer that question.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
    • Last Dance for Mary Jane

      LOL Who the he!! are you talking to?

      June 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
      • Samson

        It reposted from below. This 'soundoff' thing does that sometimes.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
        • Last Dance for Mary Jane

          Gotcha. I kinda figured it was directed at you anyhow but it did strike me as being very random. At least it was good for a laugh.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  18. Eat Hemp

    Anyone who eats meat should be required to spend an hour at a slaughterhouse.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
    • Last Dance for Mary Jane

      Anyone who eats hemp should be required to spend a month as a runner for Mexican drug cartels

      June 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
      • thewhyteman

        Yer a fool. That is called brick weed. No one wants that sh!t exempt for highschool students. Local farmers are everywhere. Phukk the cartels.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
    • Teri

      @Eat Hemp...I give them 30 minutes and they'll be runnin' out the door! Better yet...very few people would even
      go in...it's easier to stay ignorant and then we won't feel so bad!!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • theshoeminator

      I would like the opportunity. Being able to take part in the process would make me appreciate my food even more than I already do.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • bluegillonthefly

      I've killed some of my own. I reckon that counts.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • Frank

      Just one hour then all the meat you want? I'll do it!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • JoeP199

      Been there, done that, still enjoy eating meat, and vegetables, too.

      June 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  19. moods

    How come the option of "Vegetarian / Vegan" not available on the quiz. I love animals and am not willing to cut short their life.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
    • Doxie

      Agreed! I thought the same thing – where's the "I don't eat animals period" button?

      June 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • Never amazed at the stupidity of others

      Vegetables are living creatures as well yet you kill them and eat them. Most trees have lived on earth longer than mankind yet we kill them and use them for all sorts of things. Animals kill one another daily for food, should we stop them from eating one another?

      June 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
      • Teri

        Seriously...probably shouldn't waste my time responding to your post....but was curious...exactly, which
        plants and/or trees feel pain???????? LMAO!

        June 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
        • HolyJeeebus

          The Indian scientist Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, very well known for this research in botany, found out that plants appeared to have a very sensitive nervous system, and responded to shocks just like the human muscle does. When cut, they feel pain.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • thewhyteman

        What?

        Horrible logic.

        1. Plants are not sentient. They do not have a neurological system capable of thought and feelings.

        2. Most vegetables do not even require killing the plant to harvest. Even most of root plants like potatoes and onions can grow again if you leave the growth cells be. You pick the fruit that falls off anyways. Then you feed and care for the plant.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
        • me

          How do you know a plant can't feel? Has one told you?

          June 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • YourPalPob

        And you sir/madam, have the brain and logical reasoning of a vegetable.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
      • Torrence

        Very weak comment that shows you don't understand this issue deeply at all. Trees and plants aren't conscious and don't feel pain. Carnivorous animals must eat other animals, they don't have the choice like us.

        June 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
      • Dude

        I hate vegetables. That's why I am a vegetarian. I grow my own broccoli and put a picture of stir fried broccoli in the middle of the garden just so they can see their fate.

        Bwahahahaha.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • PAULA DEAN - DONG

        Did you drown in your own bathwater at some stage in your life? Sounds like you did.

        June 8, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
  20. James in Vegas

    All-

    I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for being so mean to so many people today. Truth is, my momma dropped me on my head too many times as a baby and my father never loved or approved of me. I'm still waiting to come out to him...that's gonna be tough. He'll probably hurt me. Again. Anyway, as a consequence of all of this I suffer from an almost non-existant level of self-esteem so I hide behind a computer and take my frustrations out on people who cannot find me and will never hurt me. I am sad and lonley.

    Thank you all for listening.

    -JIV

    June 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  21. Samson

    Scientists did a study that showed pigs had no preference towards living in a cage or not living in a cage. The Humane Society, in typical fashion, thumbed their noses at the report, covered their ears, and sang 'I can't hear you la la al.'

    June 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • Molly

      You sir, are a total f*****g idiot. Please show link to said "study".

      June 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
      • Samson

        http://wherefoodcomesfrom.com/article/3-3763/Gestation-Crates-and-Group-Sow-Housing-What-Do-Comparative-Studies-Show

        You mean this one, the one that they linked in the article above that you obviously didn't read?

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

          If you want the actual papers from McGlone's study, look it up. You can learn on your own, I believe in you.

          June 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
        • Molly

          Perhaps you didn't "read" the article yourself. There is no place in it that says the Pigs "have no preference". Just use you're brain man. Would you prefer to live in a very small cage or have some room to move around? You don't need a study to answer that question.

          June 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
        • Samson

          I did read it. It said, most importantly:

          The study concludes that “gestation stalls or well-managed pens generally … produced similar states of welfare for pregnant [females] in terms of physiology, behavior performance, and health.”

          Also, this may come as a shock to you, but people and pigs are different. They don't operate on the same level of thought and behavior as we do, although I get the appeal of the romantic notion that they are. There's something I don't need a study to tell me.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
      • Lobster Good

        I love it when a libtard gets discredited. Molly = FAIL.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
        • HolyJeeebus

          Whoa there.. I consider myself to be pretty left of center but you can take my bacon when you pry it from my cold dead hands. And I've met plenty of Ron Paul-ites that consider themselves conservative while still being hippster veggie-heads. Political preferences and diet doesn't always go hand in hand.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
        • JoeP199

          LMAO! You just showed how myopic a view you get through tea party glasses/

          June 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Doxie

      Did you ask the pigs? Who are they talking to, Babe?

      June 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
      • Samson

        You know at least Molly attempted to present a valid argument. Your post is just childish.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
        • Last Dance for Mary Jane

          Yeah but then she went and ruined it with the whole "I like cannabalism" thing.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • kit8

      Samson don't always believe what you read especially from the so called experts. These experts studies maybe funded by the very industry that wants to get its way no matter how rediculous the findings. Past studies have indicated smoking does not cause cancer and I bet those studies were funded by the cigarette industry. Any study that concludes pigs would not have a preference for being in a cage or not being in a cage is trying to fool someone.

      June 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • Samson

        Look at some of McGlone's other studies on sows and you'll find that he isn't just working for the industry. When he sees a problem he makes it known, if he doesn't see a problem he makes it known. Although your suspicion is both understandable and healthy.

        June 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  22. Molly

    Personally, I'm quite happy with the current boom in cannibalism. Humans are to fat, lazy and stupid to eat responsibly. Hopefully we taste like bacon.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • SoundFuture

      Becareful saying that in a public forum in which cannibals may or may not be reading; it sounds like you're volunteering.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Reply
    • DD

      You belong in the stupid category. Look up the proper use of to and too.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  23. Subramanian Venkatraman

    If people had to kill and then process the carcass for the food they eat, most of the people will stop killing for food. Because by nature humans are humans. But where edible food is not available at all, like tundra or deserts, probably there is no alternative to killing animals for food. Bible says "Do unto others what you would like done to you." 'Others' I believe includes all living beings. Please don't ask like a GOP that even bacteria is a living thing and therefore should be stop eating yogurt? However, ultimately, it is a personal choice and one should not try to persuade the other to change his views. Just don't claim to be a compassionate person if you castrate pets, go fishing and hunting, agree with death penalty, wars or if you are a flesh eating non-vegetarian.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • Phrank

      I believe you have selective memory. If you look at the early part of the 20th century most people were involved with butchering their own food. If they you didn't live on a farm then you went to the market and bought live chicken, ducks, or other live animals for their consumption.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  24. Trollicus

    I only spend 50 hrs a week in my cubicle, but then there isn't a farmer looking out for my welfare. At least these pigs get medical treatment, I don't have health insurance.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      well hell, if that's your comparison...I will gladly pay your insurance to get you all vaccinated, I will even pay for some of your food...

      as long as I can cut you up and eat you when I decide you are at your prime...doesnt that sound reasonable. Man, those pigs have it good.

      June 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • Teri

      @Trollicus...are you able to stand up in your cubicle?...are you able to turn around in your cubicle???...are you able to come and go out of your cubicle??? YOU...have a CHOICE on where you spend your days...YOU have a voice...YOU can change what you don't like....ANIMALS CAN'T!!!! Perhaps 30 days in a gestation crate would help you?!

      June 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
    • Glasswalls

      In a factory farm, your welfare is of no regard. Only your pound weight. When you are ready for slaughter you may be hooked by your nose to get in line to be killed. or if you are at one of the largest pork facilities down south, you will be led into a chamber along with about 2000 other pigs and you will be crushed to death by a large steel wall similar to a dumpster, your last moment on earth will be hearing the screams of other pigs as they are crushed- Screaming indicates pain in all animals. Does that really sound like welfare? Please do some research while you are under your bridge-oops I mean cubicle.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  25. Pro Ag

    It is quite frustrating that people without any understanding of agriculture (let alone animal husbandry) make such wild accusations of producers. It is shameful! Instead of listening to producers and considering the facts and science, they only use emotion and the distorted viewpoints of PETA and HSUS.

    There is sound reasoning and science behind the practices that responsible producers make. For those that are truly concerned about the breeding gilt (a female swine that has not produced a litter…I assume that many don’t know this term) or sow, take into consideration the real reasoning behind the use of gestation stalls. It IS for the WELFARE of that animal. A gilt entering the breeding herd is dramatically smaller than a fully mature sow. That gilt might be 200 pounds or a little bigger; however, a fully mature sow can be 500 pounds or more! Producers must keep them separate. Why? To stop the animals from fighting and to ensure that the nutritional needs of all the animals are met. This is providing protection for the animals and for the workers. An aggressive sow is not only dangerous to its pen-mates but also to the workers who are providing for these animals on a daily basis.

    It’s much easier to look over animals when they are penned individually. A worker can clearly see feed intake and look to see if the animal is healthy. Trying to look over a pen of pigs is a lot more challenging. The group is mingling which can make early detection of sickness of an individual difficult. The producer would know the feed consumption of the group but can not determine what each individual is truly getting.

    It isn’t right that people who do not understand the industry can make such demands on American producers. They do not understand what they are asking for. First they want American Agriculture to feed the world and then push for legislation that makes it harder for them to be sustainable. Animal producers (be it dairy, cattle, poultry or swine) and farmers are all facing higher costs that go into buildings, machinery and fuel. Now the pork industry is facing a public which wants them to change management practices. They will have to either sell out or ask more money for their product to off set the expense of converting confinement buildings. That cost will go to the consumer.

    What is truly sad is that children in our country don’t understand where their food comes from. When asked: where does a pork chop come from…they answer: from the grocery store. The general public is not much better.

    Those that work in production agriculture are concerned for their animal’s well being. It is in their best interest to provide the best quality of care for their animals

    June 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • americanjello

      Ok I guess I'll go put my head back in the sand then. Thanks!

      June 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
      • Teri

        That's exactly what their hoping you'll do! The dirty little secrets of the Ag industry are FINALLY starting to
        come to light! These animals are nothing but MONEY to these people/companies...you would think that they
        would take much better care of their assets! It is with my hope, that even tho people will continue to eat meat
        until the end of time...they stand up and say no more abuse! If you choose to eat meat...that's your decision...but
        PLEASE don't tolerate any longer the abuse of these animals before they become your meal!!!!!

        June 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
      • Pro Ag

        I'm not saying, "put your head in the sand." I responded to this article because I don't feel that this article truly addressed why gestation stalls are used and that many of the posts before mine were only using emotion and not the facts. Only 1% of Americans are employed in agriculture, so it isn’t surprising that there is disconnect.

        It is not a hidden secret that PETA and HSUS are anti agriculture. You can see this on their websites when you look at their objectives.

        Hogs give us more than a fantastic protein source. We are also able to isolate fatty acids that go into cement, plastic and rubber production. There are many other everyday items that we use that come from animal byproducts. They are not raised only to produce meat.

        I am not trying to condemn the general public about not understanding all the intricate parts of agriculture. Rather, I was trying to bring to light some facts and express my frustration with those trying to blast my industry.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
        • Robin

          I respect the info you provided. But, why the cement floors and ridiculously small size of the crate?

          June 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
        • Pro Ag

          To Robin and others that may like a little more information,

          I would encourage you to go to: http://video.pork.org/video/sows-in-gestation-crates
          This link is a video of a farm that uses gestation stalls. The lady in this short clip talks about the reason producers use stalls. I would like to point out to those who watch this, that the room is peaceful...the pigs are quite and content.

          http://www.porkcares.org is another good website that gives a good description of swine housing options and answers many questions about why producers may choose to use gestation stalls in their system.

          June 8, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Teri

      It is equally frustrating to hear Farm factory "spokespeople" write how gestation crates are good for the pigs! Seriously???? It's a shame that you think we're all that stupid!! This is a crystal clear example of the abuse that goes on at a lot of farms in the US! THERE'S NO EXCUSE FOR IT!!! Let's be honest here....it's all about the bottom line...the almighty dollar! You can't even begin to tell me or the public how a pig living in those conditions is good for them...their quality of life is horrific...you know it and so do the educated American consumer!!! By the way, I was raised on a farm...know all about how one operates...BUT...never once, was an animal forced to live like this or did they suffer any other kind of abuse! Sorry....nobody is buying your crap!!!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
      • Teri likes Meat

        Teri,

        You need to get laid and calm down, sweetheart. You're gonna have a coronary faster than a fat kid at McDonalds.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Reply
    • dangercat

      Yes, the big argument for keeping gestation crates is to protect the sows from each other. But it is not that hard to breed for temperament. Sows lived in groups ever since people started raising them. This excessively restricted "housing" is a recent development in farming. Read Temple Grandin's articles on gestation crates.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • SoundFuture

      Teri,
      It's true and not true. Enormous hogs in crates are a lot easier to care for, and you can better provide for nutritional needs easier as well as health needs (sickness is obvious). The negative is that the animal isn't "free". Sometimes I can't afford a more ethical option. So if we ban it, sometimes I won't be able to afford it at all. Which is going to be just fantastic as our money is continuing to devalue and our standard of living beginning to slip.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
      • Teri

        @SoundFuture:
        With all due respect, if you can't "afford" to be ethical with your animals...then perhaps a different career
        would be a better idea! I'm sorry...there is just no excuse to make an animal, being raised for meat to live
        like this! They live a horrific life...only to be slaughtered to be put on one's plate!
        Thank you!

        June 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • Lobster Good

      I will second this. There are obviously a lot of people commenting here who have no basis of knowledge about anything regarding agriculture and where their food comes from, be it plant or animal. Unfortunately many of the most oblivious are ranting the loudest.

      Keep doing what you're doing, Pro Ag. Some of us actually appreciate what you do.

      June 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
      • PAULA DEAN - DONG

        Oh, so YOU can hear the sound of one hand clappin'?? And, if a tree fell on yer house AND not in the forest,...you'd know it,......right?.............I hear crickets.

        June 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • LH

      @ProAg...I hear you...my husband comes from a long line of farmers...I grew up in Los Angeles but now live in Iowa...my views on animal welfare changed drastically when I saw first-hand, what animals unchecked, can do to each other. There is no outrunning a farrowing sow...she is hormonal, uncontrollable, and often violent. Without the crates, they WILL crush their young, fight with other sows and kill other young. Please know that the crates are only used during farrowing. Yes, it is for the safety of the sow, the piglets, and the farmer. No different than an Ob/Gyn using a delivery bed with stirrups...it's really not the most comfortable method for the mother, but it's most convenient for the doctor...which is more important, the mother's comfort or safety? And for you mothers out there...can you really tell me you all were absolutely reasonable, non-hormonal, and sane, when you delivered your child(ren)?
      BTW...people seem to think corporate farms mean big companies...nope. Most corporate farms are actually family owned...the families incorporate them for economic reasons, but they are still run by individuals of a FAMILY.
      Please, people, educate yourselves on the ENTIRE topic, before voicing opinions. And no, I don't mean just read what's on the web...I mean go out, work on a farm, see what it all entails. THEN, come talk to me...

      June 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
      • Oh Really?

        Then do explain this:
        "At this gestation crate confinement facility (see video,) workers punched and kicked mother pigs. They kicked piglets like soccer balls, whipped them around by their hind legs, smashed them into concrete floors, and threw them high into the air. A few even threw piglets’ testicles at each other and fed them back to the mother pigs for “fun.” The people who engaged in this behavior should be prosecuted, and the callousness they exhibited should be a matter of serious concern to everyone, not the least of all their co-workers, neighbors, and family members."
        http://www.humanesociety.org/news/blog/2012/05/wyoming_pig_investigation_blog.html

        What part of humane treatment is that? How does any of that behavior enhance the sow's life? How does that improve the meat? There is no excuse for treating young animals in this manner.

        June 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
        • LH

          I didn't say ALL people treat hogs the same. Don't let the actions of a few, influence your decisions of all. If I went by that, then I would think ALL Caucasians were bigots, simply because I remember being denied entrance to a restaurant by a white host, because my parents are Asian. By and large, most farmers are interested in treating their livestock in as safe a manner as possible.

          June 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • CanAmFam

        Speaking of "educating yourselves on the topic," perhaps you should take some of your own advice. This article, and the movement it's covering, are about GESTATION crates, used only during GESTATION (Pregnancy). There is no movement to eliminate farrowing crates, used to keep sows from crushing their piglets once they're born!

        June 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
    • theshoeminator

      WE UNDERSTAND why the pigs have to be kept separate. But why can't they put them in marginally larger crates that would at least allow them to move about a little?

      June 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
      • LH

        Because, even in as confined as they are now, some piglets STILL are crushed. Any tighter, and the sows then cannot get up to eat or drink. And you can't always hear a piglet squealing over all the piglet noises, the sow noises, and the fans running to keep them cooler. The confinement only lasts a couple of weeks, until the piglets are old enough to eat corn/feed on their own and fend for themselves. And most farmers let the sows out to walk around and get out, even during this time.

        June 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
        • Kim

          I think you are confusing gestation crates with farrowing crates. Gestation crates immobilize the sow BEFORE she has the piglets (these are what's pictured in the article). The farrowing crates have vertical bars through which the piglets suckle the mom. There is no logical reason why a sow must be kept in such a tightly-spaced gestation crate. Farrowing crates, yes, because of the piglet squish factor.

          June 8, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  26. momzna

    Quoting the last paragraph of the article:
    "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."

    Since when "more fat" has become a "great benefit to the consumer"?

    June 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • BD

      That's a naive or ignorant view, try looking up beef pricing. The more aged and marbled (which means has fat evenly distributed throughout the meat) a piece of meat is, the more expensive and desirable it is.

      Fat = flavour.

      The fact that your posting on eatocracy without knowing or believing that borders on anathema

      June 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • pdxmum

        Yes, fat=flavor, but also fat=fat me. I buy pork because it's leaner than beef. I don't particularly want fattier pork.

        June 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
        • KRS

          Oh my god...it's bacon. Are you eating two slices or the whole one pound package?

          June 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  27. BD

    Stress affects animals differently, from the sound of this article it would appear that this type of living doesn't "stress" the sows. When we anthropomorphize we assume that things that would make us suffer also make animals suffer, since they can't tell us its up to us to look at their biology to make a determination.

    The factors that are mentioned above as being used to determine stress levels are an extremely strong indicator that this is more of a problem for people than it is for the pigs.

    On the other hand, sometimes things that might seem reasonable to us can actually stress animals (for example, loud noises and cattle).

    If I had to choose between eating cattle subjected to conditions where the noise caused them significant stress versus eating pork raised in a gestation crate I would choose the pork every time. Its not for us to decide on behalf of animals how they should be treated, its up to us to do our best to minimize the amount of stress put on them during their lives, oddly enough those two statements don't end up meaning the same thing, though the difference is lost on many.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Proper Punishment

      I don't know maybe it is simply because in any natural circumstance most if not all animals would not choose to stand in one spot for their entire life. A simple experiment would tell you if the pigs like being locked where they cannot move or loose, simply open the gate and give the pig the option. If after many years the pig still stands right there in the crate then maybe you are right.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Oh please, nothing more than apologetic claptrap meant to do nothing more than attempt to mislead, or deceive people into believing abusing an animal is good.

      June 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  28. Proper Punishment

    George W Bush should be made to live rest of his days in one of these crates. What he did to this country is unforgivable. Now he is worried about his legacy, his legacy is worst president EVER and potentially Criminal if someone had guts to bring him to trial.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • PIGS ARE PEOPLE TOO

      WHAT !!! Nothing to do with the article at all.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Proper Punishment

      I did say Bush should be made to live rest of his days in one of these crates

      June 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
      • PIGS ARE PEOPLE TOO

        OK ! I got the tie in now.......

        June 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
    • Smarter Than Proper Punishment

      You're an idiot. Put Obama in a crate half the size with Biden, and there is probably still room for you!

      June 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • Proper Punishment

        So you jump to conclusions that I like Obama just because I say the facts about Bush. Well you are not as smart as you think because I do not like Obama and in fact I at this moment would probably rate the worst three presidents as follows. 1. George W Bush, 2. Jimmy Carter, 3. Barrack Obama

        Now lets look at some other facts.

        Under George W. Bush:
        Worst attack and most lives lost on American soil since Pearl Harbor
        Started out right in Afghanistan but then let the terrorists slip away as he dropped the ball
        Decides he wants to invade Iraq, makes up every angle needed to go to war
        4000 plus American lives lost and a trillion dollars spent in Iraq
        At same time giving Bush tax cuts for wealthy because everyone knows cutting revenue while spending trillion on a war is just right.
        Last but not least his presidency was such a failure and economic policies so wild wild west with no restraints that the countries economy almost totally crashed in his last weeks in office prompting him to push and get an almost Trillion dollar bank bailout to keep us from total collapse.

        Under Obama:
        Weak healthcare law, kind of a waste but not a disaster anywhere near a Bushy.
        Gets and kills Bin Laden something that should have been done instead of Iraq.
        Kills more Al Queda leaders – the people actually responsible for 911
        Ineffective on domestic and economic policy however he was able to keep us from sliding back into Bush days.

        So while Obama not great he did a few great things concerning terrorists and he is one hundred time better or one hundred times less destructive to the United States than Bush.

        There you go facts.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  29. Lew

    Poor Piggies :(

    June 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  30. you are what you eat

    After reading this article, I did a quick youtube search on animal slaughter.
    Try "Religious Slaughter without Stunning" if you want to make your stomach turn.

    The problem for me if I want to eat humanely raised and slaughtered meat is that there's pretty much no way to tell when you go to a restaurant or grocery store. Probably better to err on the side of caution. Plus, there's no way to know what kind of growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals are in generic meat.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • Vipir

      Gross!

      June 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  31. PIGS ARE PEOPLE TOO

    I'm glad to see this interest in the swine welfare. I've got lots of friends who are pigs. They don't live like that, but a fairly close resemblance to the living conditions. How could you kill a happy pig anyway. If you took all the time to make sure the pig is happy, and then, turned around a killed it for food, well, it just seems mean. I would think an unhappy pig would be better to kill because you might would feel you are doing the pig a favor.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Proper Punishment

      Maybe God should make you live whole life in crate so when he kills you he will be doing you a favor

      June 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
      • Deanna

        Very well said Proper Punishment!!!! People think they are above all living creatures. I hope this moron doesn't have any kids or pets, ever...

        June 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
        • PIGS ARE PEOPLE TOO

          God said we are above all animals on the planet.

          June 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
        • Steve

          No he didnt, what a HUGE misquote and misunderstanding of the bible. I would have to say you have NEVER rad it. God said we have DOMINION over the land and its creatures...that means we are responsible for its care and maintenance, not that we can use and abuse it as we see fit.

          You arent a christian, hell, you dont even know the first thing about the bible. I bet your one of those that goes to church and has soemone read it to you because you are either to stupid or to busy to actually be a part of your religion.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Mike

      Well said!!!

      June 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Deanna

      You would feel better to kill an "Unhappy pig" does that help you sleep at night?? You're disgusting and should be ashamed of your way of thinking... I hope you have no children, they might need to run for their lives with a cruel parent like you! I eat meat but would never, ever think it's okay for any living thing to live this way, it's just not HUMANE!!!!! Ignorant people like you should be stuck in those crates, see how you do...

      June 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Reply
      • PIGS ARE PEOPLE TOO

        I've never killed a pig, happy or unhappy. But if your not doing anything tonight.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  32. Brad

    Humans live in crates, why shouldn't animals?

    June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • Pabsoul

      Hey Bob, if humans live in crates is because they choose that. Animals can choose what they want. THey are not criminals, they live the life that humans give them. At least we should give them a good life since we do we them whatever the fu ck we want.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
      • Pabsoul

        I meant can't choose what they want*

        June 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • PAULA DEAN - DONG

      I'm sorry yer homeless and livin' in a box, Brad. I got some leftover wallpaper on a roll to give ya if ya want'a cheer up the place some. It's got ittle piggies with bibs holdin' a knife and fork pattern on it. (It sort'a gives me nightmares)

      June 9, 2012 at 8:11 am | Reply
  33. misterjack

    Although gestation crates are bad and should be limited, I think that this will put a lot of hog farmers out of business, thereby allowing the two or three corporate entities that have a strangle hold on small business to import more product from other countries that will bring more profit and less regulation. This is an example of the misinformation propaganda promoted by the packing house business.

    Watch the documentary Food, Inc. to get a very good idea of the power of packing house business.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  34. Willy000

    There are 7 Billion people in the world who need to eat, PETA and other animal activist groups need to wake up from their fairy tale and realize some of their proposals will not provide a sustainable food source. Pigs are aggressive and competitive, why put them in a situation where they can cause harm to one another. Farmers are already finding ways to deal with the fact they can no longer crate their livestock, by genitally changing the makeup of the pigs to be less aggressive. I'd rather eat a pig that was in a crate over one that was walking around but genetically mutated.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • whythis

      Disagree. One of my freinds told me that he started eating meat because t is difficult to survive without it in USA. I took him to a family who did not, they told him that they did not need meat to survive and they are still OK. He was speechless. Actually people want to satify thier own egos with their own reasons. You will find ways if you want.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • Matthew Thibeault

        I know two people who don't eat meat and both are obese and have open sores on their skin. We were all born to eat meat.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
        • you are what you eat

          Excellent sample size, Mr. Scientist.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
        • Sandi

          Matthew, there are many uneducated vegetarians that try to live on macaroni and cheese. Vegetarianism leads to extremely health people when they eat a balance meal. The same is true for meat eaters who live on bacon cheeseburgers. They are not giving their body what it needs. It's been proven repeatedly that meat is unnecessary to the human diet.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
        • Cathy

          I will differ with you on the opinion that we were born to eat meat. I have been vegetarian for years and I am healthy as a horse. My heart is in fine shape, my bloodwork is perfect. My cholesterol is low and healthy. People eat meat because they have a taste for meat., no other reason. You do not need it to survive. That is bullcrap. By the way, nobody at my house is obese or have open sores on their body. That is ridiculous. We feel far more healthy after a few years of being vegetarian.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • jory

      "In a world which has essentially run out of new sources of agricultural land, it is insane that 70 per cent of all farmed land on the globe is dedicated to rearing animals in an orgy of cruelty and inefficiency that truly boggles the mind. On a vegetarian diet less than half the current agricultural land would be needed – on a vegan diet less than a quarter." ~Tony Wardle
      oh, and, MUCH more important to the state of one's appetite, the state of one's heart -
      'The greatness and moral progress of a nation can be judged by how it treats animals' to paraphrase Ghandi.
      I think this also applies to the individual.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Matthew Thibeault

      Agreed.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • 10% rule

      "7 Billion people in the world who need to eat..."
      If you took the same energy, money, and resources required to raise a pig and used it to grow vegetarian food sources instead, you could feed a lot more people.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
      • let's compare

        actually you are incorrect! Iowa State did an analysis a few years ago, and if the state of Iowa was converted to grass and vegetarian produce they would actually feed less people. So back to the 7 billion people needing to eat!!

        June 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
        • 10%

          I challenge that idea, and would love to see a source.
          It's pretty well established that it takes 10x biomass to feed the next highest trophic level. Conceptually, 100 units of primary production feeds 10 units of cows/pigs/whatever feeds 1 unit person. If we ate at a lower trophic level, 100 units of primary production feeds 10 units of people. The conversion factors depend on what gets defined as a unit and how well each level processes energy, but 10% is the average. Source: any biology/ecology textbook.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
        • racquetman

          We wouldn't have to feed "7 billion people" if idiots like you didn't breed incessantly. Humans are nothing but parasites that will continue to multiply and destroy everything this planet has to offer. I would love to fatten your a$$ up in one of these pens for a few years and then feed you to a pack of starving pigs!!

          June 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
        • Dude

          If Americans cut meat consumption by 10%, the grain left over at feed lots would be able to replace the meat. In addition, there would be enough grain to feed every human on earth who is currently starving.

          June 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
      • whythis

        Agree

        June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Sandi

      Actually, Willy, the opposite is true. At the rate the population is growing MEAT is the unsustainable source of food. If you think about the way people eat, burgers WITH bacon, chicken WITH bacon, it's the meat habit that out of whack with what the planet can sustain. And what does it say about us as a species that we treat living breathing creatures as commodities? Science has determined that pigs have the emotional intelligence of a 3 year old. We can do better than this.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • Cathy

      If people really need to eat, they should try being vegetarian. The great pounds of food fed to animals to create a few pounds of food would feed thousands of people. Meat is a very inefficient way of feeding the world. It wastes food and water, creates huge pollutions and a lot of diseases come from eating meat. Ecoli, mad cow disease, and hundreds of other diseases can be traced back to consumption of animal products. Why does it bother you that people want these animals to be well treated? It costs no more to treat an animal humanely than it does to create pain and suffering. Pain is pain, man or beast. Maybe if you would try to understand the enormous cruelty that some of these places have on a day to day basis, you might understand why it upsets the rest of us. You are one insensitive person for sure. Look up Physicians for Responsible Medicine and get their viewpoints on being vegetarian. I have been vegetarian for years and I feel far better than I did while eating meat. Give it a try. Kindness does not cost you a dime.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • Crystal

      There ARE 7 billion people who need to eat, therefore eliminating or just reducing the consumption of meat is the most economical way to feed everyone. The amount of grain fed to livestock could feed half the world. Meat consumption is not about nutrition, it's about taste. You eat it because it taste good. Nutritionally, meat is high in cholesterol and fat, produces cancer-causing carcinogens when cooked and is not the most easily absorbed protein source available. It is actually unhealthy to eat meat!
      MEAT IS the non-sustainable food source! Costs are artifically low for meat that is raised and killed "economically" so the companies can acheive outrageous profits. They pollute the water with unmanageable amounts of waste produced in their operations, feed animals crappy, un-natural foods, load them with growth hormones and antibiotics and causes them unnecessary suffering and horrible deaths. All for that low cost to the consumer, but we are paying the secret price! They are unaccountable for their rampant pollution, they feed animals genetically modified feed, growth hormones, time will tell what that is doing to our bodies, and antibiotics, which we are slowly becoming resistant to so they will no longer cure human diseases.
      Animals are not being genetically modified because of changes like gestation crates. They are being modified to handle the conditions in which they are forced to live short, painful lives. I'm sure you have eaten turkey and if you have, you have eaten a gentically modified, selectively bred, mutant with no natural instincts and either rampant with disease or else stuffed full of anibiotics and other medication. These animals never seen sunlight, cannot reproduce naturally, cannot even stand or walk and then die slow, painful deaths for your tastebuds.
      I don't oppose eating meat, but you should at least be aware of what you are actually eating and make the right choices for everyone and not just for yourself. For some, like me, knowing all this information makes you really think about whether eating tasty, delicious meat is worth all the suffering, disease, pollution, and waste to this world the animals and to yourself. I don't think it is. And I chose to not contribute to a problem and affects almost every facet of life on this planet.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • Amber

        Bravo! I agree wholeheartedly. :D

        June 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  35. whythis

    Imagine putting yourself and your dear ones in same situation. Being put in crates, with no freedom, with less or no food of choice and one day to get yourself and your dear ones ready to be slaughtered. Seem funny though , but you start equating those people with Nazi's and thier concentration camps.
    How insensitive we become when it come to your dear ones and your own kind. How indifferent you are when it come to others. And you call yourself humans ??? Why??? Shame

    June 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • letmeget this straight

      I don't eat humans. So, I can't imagine.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
      • whythis

        Absolutely. May God bless you with power to imagine.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • The Truth

      Actually I do know, I was in the Navy for over 11 years. In that time my only personal space was a coffin locker which I could only fit if I was on my back. At least I would wedge up against the top in heavy seas so I would not fall out 6 feet to the steel deck. For food at least on the ships I served on was not all you can eat, they actually counted the noodles they gave to each serving of spaghetti. Water was limited for any use including drinking and showering and we typically had water secured and rationed more often than it was open for use. As always the potential for being slaughtered was high, but luckily not for me. During that time I never felt misstreated or abused, we had limited space and that meant limited space for food and water production too. So in the end I don't care if my bacon came from a cage or if my bacon was pampered, only as long as I get bacon.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
      • whythis

        I am sure you would be proud to serve the nation. You did not care where the bacon come from. Would you still be uncocerned if you were served human meat. Idea shivers hatred through your nerves, ist't that true. You were unconcerned because you were raised with belief that it is OK to eat bacon and were insensitive to its creation. If you had developed sensitiveness toward killing innocent lives, you would be different.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  36. No Schmeat

    The No Schmeat blog is a good place to distinguish real meat from $hit meat

    http://noshmeat.com/blog/2011/3/20/what-is-shmeat/
    Excerpt:
    Cows that browse grass produce meat. Cows inflated with corn, then injected with medicines to keep the corn from killing them because they are biologically unable to digest it - shmeat.

    Broadly speaking, animals treated with the dignity afforded to them by the simple virtue of their sentience - as verified by an objective and well-meaning third party - make meat. Animals regarded and treated as inanimate objects, no different than bricks - sputtering sparks of life sustained by a grotesque chemistry that includes significant quantities of other dead animals and their excrement - literally, shmeat.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Amber

      I agree, which is why I turned vegetarian last year. A conscientious omnivore friend of mine told me that grass-fed beef actually tastes like beef! Unfortunately, I don't know if I've ever tried grass-fed meat. It's sad really...

      June 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  37. katrh

    absolutely sickening don t eat meat

    June 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  38. atroy

    Gestation crates should also be used for welfare mothers.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • PAULA DEAN - DONG

      Hell, it's noon and yer still one fried egg short of breakfast.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  39. KJW

    The article states that pigs are aggressive towards each other in group settings. It also sites research by Iowa State that shows sows in individual pens have larger litters. It seems to me that the research indicates that pigs have a higher quality of life with less fear when they are in the individual stalls than when they are all put together.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Nic

      There is a HUGE difference between individual pens and the pig being caged in a space so small that it can't even turn around. Just look at that picture and imagine spending your entire life like that. Even if the so called evidence was manipulated to show that you would have a better life there do you think that's how you would like to live? No? I didn't think so. BTW it's "cites" not sites.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • Alex

        And why the pig should be able to turn around? Are you comparing pigs to humans?

        June 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
        • Claire

          No one is compaing pigs to humans. Alex tell us would you treat your dog or cat the same way you treat breading sows?

          June 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
        • Cathy

          Because it is a living and breathing creature that feels pain. Why do you want to inflict unnecessary pain? Are you like that cannibalistic guy that started out torturing and killing animals and then sends the body parts of his lover to the Canadians? Any creature should be treated well until the time they are slaughtered for your consumption. You act like you enjoy the suffering. Are you aware that you are probably a sadist?

          June 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • KJW

        Why do you assume the "so called evidence was manipulated”? The studies cited in this article are done by major universities. I am simply looking at the evidence and trying to trust both the researchers and the farmers who rely on the well-being of their livestock to make a living. So many people who don’t have a clue about what they are talking about are trying to tell others how to do their job.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Carnivore

      I think you have a point, So I would like to set up a fund to do Physiological work ups on swine. Would any of you like to contribute so I can start this project?

      June 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • CharlieB

      KJW, if you believe that I've got a bridge for sale. It is just big biz paying someone to agree with them, animals are much healthier if they allowed to move around and act like pigs or bovines. Remember companies are in it to make money they really don't care about you only your wallet.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • animal advocate

      what did farmers do 100 years ago before these torture cages? how would you like to be treated this way? pigs are smarter then dogs so don't tell me they can't feel pain and fear. the only reason to use these cages are so they can make more money. the factory farm is just to maximize the profits. again we are confronted with humane treatment or the most money we can make. guess which is being picked!! the factory farms are choosing money over what is best for the animal we are killing to feed us. can't we treat them better then this??

      June 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Pro Ag

        Honestly, 100 years ago, hogs were raised outside. Pork production was lower and producers had to face higher death loss due to predators, inclement weather and disease.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  40. freedomringingnow

    This really disturbs me that we feel such a priority to get profit that one could sleep at night knowing they have abused life.
    These are the same people who know have passed a bill to butcher horses.

    THE USA Farmers also drug all beef, dairy and swine to get a fast growth which by the way gets ther own revenge as those consuming have higher cancer rates. I guess god is paying those back as turn around is fair play.

    My BMI is great by the way and I do buy Loras Lean meat and dring non drugged milk too!

    I hope that someone steps up and puts rules in play that this is animal cruelty and not the best way to raise food.

    I dare those to goodle how the new chickens are raised to get more white meat.... SAD!

    June 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      You're doing what you feel is right. You vote with your valet. That's great!
      But for me, this report is nothing but PETA infected propaganda; so I am voting with my valet too. Should the US pork become more expensive due to populist-induced regulations, I will gladly switch to Chinese produce.
      At the end, it's democracy... Or should be one.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • animal advocate

        good for you alex. personally i wouldn't eat anything that comes from china. shame on us for wanting more and more cheap crap. now its our food. no thank you. i only buy and eat free range and organic. yes it may cost a little more but i figure, do i want to spend all the money i save buying crap from wal-mart at the doctors office or pay a little more for good american grown free range meat and milk and eggs. and maybe save a few american jobs and farms that really care about what they send to the markets. and what we are putting into our bodies. look at us. look at the condition american's are in.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  41. Serious Face

    Why should I care what my bacon thinks?

    June 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • Kianasmum

      Why? Because the cancer rates in the USA are the highest in the world and because animals who are treated this way are fed heavy doses of antibiotics to keep them alive until slaughter which is then passed on to those who eat them. By absorbing the antibiotics in this manner, some humans become immune to them so when they're sick, these antibiotics don't work.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
      • readthescience

        the antibiotics fed to animals are not fed to keep the animals alive. That myth is spread to create fear and access your checkbook. Pigs may be fed low levels of antibiotics from an approved list that are not critical for human health. This practice is done to better protect the environment. Seriously! The government and citizens are concerned about manure. Feeding antibiotics reduces the quantity of microflora in the intestine that competes for the food. More of the feed then can be used by the pig and less comes out in the poop and we all end up with lower amounts of manure to handle for our pound of pork chop.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
      • theshoeminator

        We become resistant to antibiotics because of what animals are injected with? I love how people read half-truths from health blogs and suddenly feel they have a perfectly solid grasp of biology. Wow.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
    • jamesbx

      Happy animals taste better. More humane farming is a win-win to my way of reasoning.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
    • Cathy

      Your question makes me wonder which is the real pig, you or your bacon. I would have to say that is a toss up. Come to think of it, I would say the swine is much more sensitive than you are. Do you know that a pig has the intelligence of a three year old child? Plus the fact that bacon makes your butt huge and your sex life into the toilet. Bet your arteries are screaming out loud. Fat meat is not sexy, dude. Body by bacon....hmmmmmm.

      June 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  42. Chef

    Being crated like that has a negetive effect on the animal and the end product (the meat). It has been proven that an animal raised and slaughtered humanly gives a better end result than an animal who is stressed constantly. Buy better quality free range meats and you will be able to tell a drastic differance. We are taking a life to sustain ours we should show that animal respect.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  43. wildmangreen

    the pork industry is run by Nazis...i buy half a pig from an amish farmer each fall. it lives a good life and dies quick...then i eat it...so don't try any shi- with me about PETA or anything else. factory farming is concentration/death camps for animals and when you buy grocery store food you are supporting it.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • Marie

      Look at the picture again. I think how they treat pigs is beyond Nazi-ism. THAT picture is why boneless pork loin is on sale at Meijer for $1.78/lb. this week! Sickening.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  44. john

    these crates are savage beyond words. the people who do this to these creatures should be crammed in a crate and then tell us all about the economics of it all. i stopped eating pork over 20 years ago, same with beef. i am healthy and strong. i weigh 200 lbs and can press more than that. i seldom get sick. i recently read one of my favorite musicians, geezer butler from black sabbath, hasn't eaten meat nearly his whole life and he is almost 70. it is a lie that a person needs to eat pork etc. to be healthy. eating savagly raised meat is not natural at all; it is unspeakable evil and unnatural .

    June 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • Amber

      I applaud you! I get sick of hearing people say "you need meat in your diet". That's ridiculous, that's like saying "you need broccoli in your diet", I think it's a lie created by the factory farming industry so people - especially Americans - will keep buying more meat (same with dairy). Healthy, clean, humanely raised meat is okay for you, I think (even if it might sit in your colon for years :P), but the commercial stuff is not so good, to say the least (Europe won't touch American meat, I wonder why...). But like I said, I applaud you. I became a vegetarian myself last year, and I can't stand when people act like vegetarians are idiots when we're not (not necessarily). There's plenty of people on the other side of the world that live long, healthy lives with little or no meat or dairy in their diet, some of them live past 100!

      June 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  45. Becky

    I'd love for everyone who comments on here to include their BMI I think you'd notice a trend. Go veg! BMI, 21.5
    http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

    June 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • Primal 4 Life

      The BMI is a totally meaningless and completely useless measurement.

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

        Go tell a cardiologist that. I am sure they won't agree with you.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
    • Luca

      Yes BMI is pointless and useless, but case in point, I eat meat pretty much every day, my BMI is 22.2. Don't go Veg, we're built to eat meat too!

      June 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
      • Robin

        Perhaps, but are we meant to/ should we consume the ridiculous amounts of meat that we do? It's our high demand for cheap meat that has created these inhumane conditions.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
        • Marie

          Cheap meat is wanted by people who have little to no money and families to feed. If we all ate less meat, they'd produce less, and the price would be the same or higher to compensate for the industry's decline in profit. Tada. As for why most people want to serve meat in a meal, exactly how long do you go before you are hungry again after eating an all vegan meal? Personally, I would go insane if I had nothing but side dishes for all the meals left in my life.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
        • Marie

          But I must say, I would be fine with never eating pork again.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
        • Robin

          Other forms of food may not be as expensive as they are now if the demand was higher and if so much agricultural land wasn't taken up to produce livestock food. And I am no more hungry than I was when I ate meat, thanks for asking.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
        • Marie

          It doesn't look to me, from this article, that they're using much space to raise these animals. You should reconsider that statement. This country grows way too much corn, too. Cut out some of that corn and plants some other crops. Too bad you don't eat meats... free range turkey and chicken is delicious.

          June 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
        • Robin

          Sorry, I didn't mean that the animals take up a lot of space, but that the food that has to be grown to feed them does. Like you said, we grow way too much corn and a lot of the corn is fed to livestock in feedlots. So, I agree we should use the land to grow more foods for direct human consumption. I try to support local, free range farming by encouraging my meat loving family members to buy from these sources, I just have no desire to eat meat anymore.

          June 8, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • kiminga

      I eat meat at every meal, start every single day with bacon and eggs. And my BMI is 20.4. So apparently being an omnivore, like we're evolved to be, is superior! (Or it could be because I avoid all sugar and industrial fats like canola while chowing down on plenty of natural animal fats ... again, like we're evolved to do.)

      That aside, I should note that I buy nearly all of my meat/eggs/dairy from grassfed/pastured/free-range sources. It's better for me, the animals, and the environment.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • John Knox

      To be honest, I know a few vegans. They are some of the fatest people I know. No Joke. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm not saying they are the norm. But their stomachs are huge.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
      • theshoeminator

        They have what's called "wheat bellies".

        June 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
        • PAULA DEAN - DONG

          They be likin' their beer mostly likely.

          June 10, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  46. mixsavvy

    The notion that farmers either use these tight gestation crates or group housing for the sows is ridiculous. I believe sows at least need room to turn around but that there is no need for more space per sow than that. The solution should be obvious: place the sows in larger crates.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • ladybear

      Pigs are as intelligent as dogs, some say more so. Why would anyone confine a thinking, feeling creature to a small crate for its life, and think food and water are the only things that matter? Pigs wag their tails when happy, like to be scratched ( belly scratches if they can get them), play games, and can be quite social. But meat eating society would prefer to think of them as numbers in a box. If we are going to eat animals, then we are morally obligated to respect the creatures who die to feed us, their lives should be as comfortable and fulfilling as possible during the time they are in our keeping.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
      • Geni

        Totally agree. The main point is to provide these living, breathing beings a good life at the least; if indeed their destiny has already been chosen by us for them to be our food, then it is our responsible to provide them with a good life and not a miserable one!

        June 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  47. Alyssa

    "It's economics, not emotional"
    pretty much sums it up right there

    June 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  48. Cecilia

    Have you seen on the website of the humane society or PETA how pigs are slaughtered? After you do, you would not even think of eating one ever again. I totaly stopped after watching the knife go down their throats, while they are still totaly alive. Full of hormones and other chemicals, which we end up eating causing in our future cancers and other illnesses, thanks no thanks. GO VEGE!

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

      If animals are so sacred to you, why even live yourself? You're just depriving some poor pig of the oxygen it needs to survive! There is no humane way to kill. Animals are animals and humans place at the top of the food chain means we get to eat these animals. End of story.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Reply
      • situationalawareness

        It's not about sacredness, it's about not molesting an animal as your killing it.
        In the past we used to at least kill animals before tearing them apart, or injecting chemicals into their bodies.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
      • take a look in the mirror and try again

        Paraphrasing your argument: "You have empathy for animals? Why don't you kill yourself then."
        And there are more humane ways to raise/kill your food.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • Valerie

        MixSavvy, you make no sense. What you said was mean spirited and unprovoked. You're right, there is no real humane way to kill, that's why some people omit meat altogether. Also, there are a lot of unnatural levels of hormones pumped into the meat which if digested, ends up in your system as well. Not necessarily something I want to partake in.

        June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • Luca

      Cecilia, you should watch a video of how wolves take down a caribou. Often they bite down on the animal's hindquarters and rip open it's anus and wait for the animal to slowly bleed out. Or ever watch a python eat an animal? Every time the animal exhales the snake tightens it grip until the animal slowly suffocates (sometimes feeding occurs before the animal is fully dead).

      Yes there are problems with meat production in this country but don't be so ridiculous and present the matter as all or nothing. There are humane ways to slaughter animals and humane ways to raise them. Don't go veg!

      June 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
      • kiminga

        That's exactly the same thing I wonder every time I hear a vegetarian lament how horrific it is to raise animals for slaughter. Have they not ever seen wolves take down a deer, one biting its face to hold its head down while others take turns tearing its entrails out its anus? Lemme tell ya, a cut throat or a bolt to the brain is a much easier way to go!

        June 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
        • Robin

          But, humans aren't wolves and have the choice. For some reason some choose to slaughter in an inhumane way. I have had to 'sacrifice' animals for science research labs in a 'humane' way. After that I choose not to work in animal labs or eat meat, as I can get my nutrients easily from sources that don't inflict pain onto animals. It is all personal choice really, so why would one urge others not to be a vegetarian/vegan?

          June 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • AmoebaCollective

        I've always been curious why so many omnivore people insist other people don't go vegan or vegetarian. They have as much right to their diets as you do. I'm not a vegetarian myself, I just find other non-veg people to be oddly defensive about their dietary habits when they have no reason to be. More so, strangely, then vegetarians. To this day, I have yet to meet a vegan or vegetarian that tried to enforce their diet on me. Not one. If it were not for company meals, I would have never known their dietary choices. But you'd better believe as soon as other non-veg found out, they made it their business to convert them to meat.

        June 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
        • Amber

          Exactly! I've noticed the same thing! It's like vegetarians/vegans are being persecuted or something, it's messed-up! I think if a person has the right to consume animal flesh, then I have the right not to!

          June 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • SayIt

      petakillsanimals.com

      June 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • JZJZ

      Cecilia,
      I have been in many, many hog slaughterhouses in the United States, and your statements are false. I have not seen the humane society or Peta sites, largely because they broadcast inaccurate information. In the vast majority of hog slaughter operations, hogs are not alive when they are bled out-they have already been killed via CO2 gas, and then immediately bled. The CO2 process is rapid and painless. In the balance of the slaughter operations, hogs are electrically stunned, and then bled out. In both cases, the hog is not sentient at the time of slaughter. This is consistently audited as very humane to the animal. Introducing hormones to hogs is illegal. It is not done. If by chemicals you mean medicines, then yes, medicines to prevent swine born diseases, protect the herds, and protect consumers are introduced. I would be interested to find what study you can cite that shows a connection between swine medicines and cancer in human beings. You are welcome to STAY VEGE, but know the facts before you make your anonymous claims.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  49. SamH

    As humans we have the ability to reason and make choices that effect other species. This is immoral and anybody who says otherwise doesn't have a single empathetic cell in their body and I pity them. My family became aware of the practices of factory farming 15 years ago and immediately made the decision to become vegetarian (practically vegan). I'm glad to hear that they are taking steps to become more ethical, although I do wish it was more.

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

      and not a single f*u*c*k was given

      June 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
      • A P

        Let's try again. Not a single f*** was given by people who can't be bothered to give a f***. Don't speak for the rest of us.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • George Bush !!

      According to the World Health Organization there are 925 Million people starving in the world each day. I think before we condemn such farming practices, we must use any means possible to alleviate world wide hunger of Humans. World Hunger should be our human priority.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
      • Alyssa

        yeah that pork isn't exactly going to starving children in Africa.. more like down the gullets of already morbidly obese americans

        June 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
        • George Bush !!

          Yes, you are right about that. But if the high production practices were allowed to be implemented in countries where cheaper high quality food could be utilized, it could help alleviate some of the problems with starvation. Unfortunately, those countries are killing their own people too.

          June 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
        • Luca

          Don't forget we are one of the biggest exporters of food and providers of food aid. GO USA FARMS!

          June 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • James in Vegas

        Really? The reason some human somewhere is always going to be starving is because the human species – supposedly the most intelligent – is too stupid to realize the dangers of over population. Oh, just where people are concerned. If there are too many wolves in Montana, we just shoot them – even if they're overall population is still endangered. The issue is about factory farming methods that are cruel and inhuman. We don't need to treat animals this way in order to have a food source, some of us just do it because the profit is greater. No compassion, no sympathy, no heart at all ... cold as ice. As a species, we are a danger to the entire planet and too stupid to limit our own population boom.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
        • letmeget this straight

          Get a vasectomy. That would eliminate a bunch of stupid people.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • A P

        You do realize that most of the crops in the world today go to feeding farm animals for meat production, right? The quickest way to solve the starvation problem is to make it less profitable for countries with starving populations to export the food for the meat industry.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
      • wildmangreen

        is that a fact! okay big mouth, please detail what you are doing or have done to help this problem other than pontificate from your chair on your fat as s.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
        • GEORGEBUSH II

          Ok! I have worked 25 years in Sub Sahara Africa to improve the production of crops, and the formation of clean water supplies. I can understand peoples aversion to mass meat production. It is sometimes seemingly cruel. But, if you are concerned about the treatment of animals that are used as food source, then, take a stance and boycott mass produced meat by not eating meat at all. I find it terrible that a lot of cereal crops are used to feed animals for slaughter. The crops could be used for human consumption. The conversion of feed to meat is inefficient. By the way, try to make an argument without resorting to calling people names. It is very juvenile.

          June 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • C

      SamH – I completely agree. The use of gestation crates as described and shown in the above article is horrifying. I had no idea American farmers engaged in such practices. It's made all the worse by the fact that pigs are considered to be among the most intelligent of all mammals. Thank you CNN for posting this article. Though I'm not a vegetarian (yet), I don't think I'll ever eat pork again.

      June 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  50. Bob B

    I used to buy pigs and raise them for food and took the best care of my pigs I could. I would build them (3-5) at a time a nice pen outside on fresh ground every year. I would build them a hut with a roof and lay pallets down on the ground and cover them with hay for sleeping and for when it rained. I would have a automatic waterer and feeder, with fresh water and food all the time. I would make the pen big enough so they could root in the dirt, give them an area that i would wet down so they could lay in the mud too cool off and cover themslves with mud so they wouldn't get sun burned and an area to go poo and pee. Some people don't give their pigs a area to do this and the pigs have no choice, but to lay in their poo and pee to cool off(pigs don't sweat). When I would go to the breeder to get my pigs his sows would only be in these caged in areas when they were going to have piglets and when they had the piglets. If they didn't the sows would step on the piglets sometimes if the sows moved around to much. When the piglets were weened, the piglets would be move to a seperate area and the sows would be moved to a large area until they would be ready to have more piglets. Some people might not like any of this, but we tried to take the best care of our pigs we could. While they were alive we tried to make the pigs as happy as we could.

    June 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
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