The crate debate - your take on gestation stalls
June 8th, 2012
02:30 PM ET
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Our explainer on gestation crates and the controversy around them hit home with a lot of our readers. At last count, over 800 of them - consumers, chefs, farmers and activists - weighed in on animal rights, the toll on farmers, the practical aspects of farming and so much more.

Here is a sampling from the ongoing discussion, and don't miss HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell's take on why the ten-year plan to phase out crates just isn't soon enough and a debate on ethical slaughter.

How will the farmers fare?

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. - Darmon

If you think pigs are being treated in a bad way in this country just import your meat like you do everything else. I'm sure the imported meat comes from animals that were well treated. There are fewer and fewer farmers raising pigs because people don't like the farms nearby and they complain about how they are raised. The price will go up and will be eating the imported meat. Good luck with that. At least local pigs will be happy. - Myto Senseworth

Farming is not a 9-5 job and you really do have to love it. I know I do. Unfortunately in a lot of the corporate farms we see hired hands abusing animals badly and the "farmers" not doing anything about it. This gives all of us farmers a bad name so we good ones really need to band together against those bad ones. - Galin

Respect for all creatures

If these animals are giving their lives for ours, why can't we treat them with more respect? The small farmer does not need to do this because they don't over produce. The only reason these crates exist is because the CAFO wants maximum output in a small space. It has absolutely nothing to do with it being better for the sow. - Scargosun

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. - ladybear

The people who raise animals this way should be put in there with them. This is so disgusting I hate the people who farm animals like this and I hope their brains grow a conscious and treat animals better and feed them better. - T Nard

I can't believe people care this much about nonsense. Those pigs are food. They're raised to be fat and tasty. If only you gave as much thought to things that actually matters and not pointless crap like this society would probably move forward. Like that will ever happen, though. - Markus P

Voices from the field

I'm from a family farm with cattle, horses, and on occasion a few pigs, chickens for our own freezer. I've also worked in large cattle feedlots in different parts of the country. Farmers (both large and small) I've worked with all care about providing a quality life for their animals. There's no other way around it. If someone doesn't, we have a problem to work out. It's our responsibility, and do the best we can with tools, technology, and respond to customer demands. Gestation crates were one of those tools for pig farmers. - Ryan Goodman

As someone who has raised pigs (I raised registered breeding stock), I used a farrowing (gestational crate) only long enough for the sow to have her babies and until the piglets were about 1.5 weeks old (sows can accidently step on or crush the young piglets so you want to make sure they are capable of getting out of the way). When the sows were in the crate they would be removed every 3-4 hours (thru the 24 hour cycle) to allow them to tend to nature and stretch and exercise. I do not believe in factory farming, and I firmly believe that is a lot of the problems today with food. - Juble Early

I've spent my life around animals; mostly farm animals and I have a degree in Animal Science...Those not involved with agriculture need to understand that if production animals were abuse, unhappy, or mistreated, they wouldn't produce; anything. Can animals die in these situations? Of course. All animals, no matter what theyre raised for, frequently encounter health issues, etc. and do not survive as planned. The same with injuries; animals will be animals and they can do damage to themselves.

Folks need to understand that farmers do their best to provide a good life for their animals; to prevent injuries and death and to give them a high quality diet and what they need to flourish. Everyone also needs to understand that farmers are farmers because they love what they do....Nobody should be slamming a farmer with harsh criticism until youve walked a mile in his/her shoes. - cornfed88

Why would a farmer purposely harm an animal? Farmers are not monsters that mistreat their livestock. And why would they? Those animals that they raise from birth are their income and help feed their own families; it’s silly to think a farmer would sabotage his own well-being by mistreating animals.

I have a B.S. in agriculture and have studied the process of raising pigs–not to mention the fact I live on a farm and deal with these things every day. I have seen sows fight viciously, it happens, just like women on reality tv! What makes anyone think they know more about farming than the actual farmer and the scientists devoting their research to making farms more efficient? I do not go into my doctors office and demand he change the way he treats me, I understand he knows more. - Whittney

Solution: go vegan

Animals raised for human consumption must be slaughtered (killed) no matter how they are raised. There is never anything humane about killing. For this reason alone, not including all the planetary woes which are happening at an increased rate, I advocate the abolishment of all animal farming that inevitably leads to the deaths of billions of animals yearly. The responsible choice we can all choose to make is to eat a plant based diet. We will curb human starvation, water, land, and air pollution, and save on healthcare costs. - Kathleen Taylor

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 totally 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! - Cecelia

Or don't

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 its 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! - Luca

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. - Samson

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

Some comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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Filed under: Animal Rights • Business and Farming News • Farms • Food Politics • Vegan • Vegetarian

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. santafebluesky

    I myself am guilty of anthropomorphizing animals, but I don't think it's too hard to figure out that gestation crates are not a good solution for these intelligent animals. I'm not going to bash farmers, because with my research I found a website called "we care?" and there was a video by a farmer named Scott Phillips who showed his farm and the gestation crates. You could tell that he really did care about the animals, and felt that what he was doing was ok, he actually kind of made it seem ok the way he talked about it and demonstrated it. I temporarily felt better about it. But Temple Grandin has stated that being in a gestation crate is definitely not humane, and needs to be phased out. If you have a dog that you love, there's no way you can accept that doing this to a pig, who is just as intelligent and curious as your dog, is an ok thing to do. Temple Grandin has stated that the farmers that are most resistant to change are the ones in their 40s who have done it this way their whole life. I really think that they don't realize that what they are doing is inhumane. However, there are apparently veterinarians who state that studies show that the pigs welfare is just as good in a crate versus group housing, and also that studies have been done showing that these pigs don't have elevated stress hormones. I find this interesting. I just don't get though why the crates have to be so small, and why there cant be creative solutions to improve their lives, such as toys in their crates, or attached to their crates. Or let them out once a day to get some exercise. Is this too difficult? I don't know, since Ive never been on a farm. All I know is I think about these animals a lot, and feel quite depressed about it.

    November 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  2. NO pork pls

    I actually gave up eating pork because of this article on pigs.. this combined with the fact that they're in the top 10 most intelligent animals prompted it. You wouldn't eat a monkey would you?

    June 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  3. Bill

    Quit worrying about pigs. If you worry about mistreatment of animals, look into veal.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  4. irateiconoclast

    The animal "rights" people are cretins! The only "right" a pig has is the "right" to end up as a piece of nice bacon!

    June 14, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • rh

      How people treat their animals is a reflection on how they treat their women and children.

      You probably keep your wife in a gestation stall so don't see the problem with it.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  5. mike

    gestation stalls are not cruel in any way. If there were no gestation stalls the sow would kill all of the piglets by laying on them. come on people.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • John

      Really??? So genius, how were pigs having piglets before gestation crates?

      Seriously, did you even stop to think before you posted that?

      June 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
      • Bill

        You ever raised pigs John or are you a city boy with no damn idea what you're talking about? I'd bet you've never seen a live pig.

        June 14, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Bill

      Mike you are exactly right. I've raised pigs and they have to be confined in some way or there is a good chance that the piglets will be crushed. How did they get along before? Some baby pigs died, sometimes whole litters. As long as the pen is kept clean and temperate, the sows don't mind being confined. Intelligent? Pigs are smarter than some people I know, and better mannered as well.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • rh

      And domestic tom turkeys are too fat to have s3x. Do you guys see any irony here?

      Do you honestly expect us to believe that a) sows naturally kill their piglets yet pigs have somehow survived as a species, or b) it is better to let all the piglets survive even if nature intends some to die off?

      Honestly, many of these issues with domesticated animals not being "proper parents" are because you guys breed them ASAP and it is not natural for first litters to survive at all if animals breed early. Any "problems" you have with losing piglets – because you bred pigs too large also – are natural and not to be avoided, unless money is your issue.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Adri

      Gestation crates are for pigs who are pregnant. When they are about to have their babies they are moved to farrowing crates. Farrowing crates are not outlawed anywhere. Get your facts straight.

      June 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  6. Cynthia L.

    The thing that bugs me about some of these posters wailing about people starving if farmers are forced to give more space to their animals is, they don't realize the citizens of the U.S. WASTE 96 BILLION TONS OF FOOD A YEAR.
    Now think about what YOU throw away. Don't give me some sob story about how people with have to pay more for food or that, people will go hungry if animals are treated in a more humane and respectful way.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  7. mntest347

    My wife thought they were a tad uncomfortable, but cruel? No.

    June 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  8. M B

    Don't the cows and chickens and delicious, delicious pigs I eat die of happiness? I prefer to think they die from happiness. Yep. Tasty animals die from happiness.

    June 13, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  9. rose teapot

    Gee, Charlotte, thank you for hating on fat people and meat eaters. Anyone who fails to live up to your standards should not be allowed to live. And you know who's going to heaven and who isn't. Mind sharing that with us?
    Well, it's always a pleasure to see someone with the sense to realize that human life has no value. I realized long ago that my life has none, and I've gotten too burned out and cynical to care about anyone else's.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  10. Your English Teacher

    Enough of this debate. Just eat what you want to and leave everyone else alone.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  11. Gilly

    People should just raise their own livestock. Best idea ever...

    June 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  12. Ken Margo

    Folks, WE ARE GOING TO EAT THEM! Making them feel better before that is NUTS. If treating the animal better makes them taste better, then farmers will do it as an competitive advantage. What about humans? People go to bed hungry, don't have health care, are homeless, without jobs, poor etc. and we're worried about farm animals? You guys sound like republicans.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Chris

      We might as well put you in a cage too right? You're just going to die one day anyways. Makes perfect sense?

      June 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • Your English Teacher

        Don’t be such a reactionary idiot. Geesssh!

        June 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • CBT

        Great point!

        June 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Ms

      You should care about the well-being of the creatures you eat, even if it's from a selfish perspective. Stressed animals have hormonal changes, which affects the flavor and quality. Ethical treatment of animals produces a better product, in addition to the other issues involved.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
      • NO pork pls

        well said.

        June 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Sceptical Dog

      The ONLY reason people go to bed hungry, don't have health care, are homeless, without jobs, are poor etc., is due to greed and the worshiping of the almighty dollar over showing compassion for their fellow man. Look at companies: profits are more important than jobs. Profits are more important for a few than the welfare of all. And unfortunately animals, for whom we have been given stewardship, suffer right along with everyone else. We will bring about our own demise by allowing the greedy to destroy everything for a few more pieces of silver.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • Doug

        Why don't you let others worry about greed and the worshiping the almighty dollar, then you can worry about showing compassion for your fellow man? While you're doing that I will worry about feeding my family. Come to think about it, I am your fellow man! Why are you more worried making my childrens dinner comfortable than me bing able to provide them with that dinner? The only thing that is important about how comfortable my pork is, is how it rests comfortably in a pillow of mashed potatos!

        June 13, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  13. Christine Kennedy

    Farmers already lost all money from me and my live-in boyfriend (since I buy his groceries). I'm waiting for a humane certified and ethical slaughter stamp on anything meat related. Until that day, I'm not buying it. Hopefully if everyone follows this, the lack of demand will force farmers to follow ethical practices, otherwise their shitty meat will drive them out of business. Rightfully so.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • albus

      It's called kosher. Of course pork is out.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • GR

      Look towards kosher meats and poultry. The slaughtering process is much more humane.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Underoo Jamboree

      There is no such thing as humane slaughter. Killing a pig to satisfy your tastebuds can never be humane.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • shawn l

      If your boyfriend allows you to make his ethical choices for him, he's a fool.

      June 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  14. jim

    I like meat! Of all the things I have to worry about in my life, where that meat comes from is pretty low down on the list. If you all want to spend your lives trying to make my future food comfortable, more power to you! I have more important things to do than worry about housing for pork chops.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Ken Margo


      June 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Doug

      Couldn't have said it better myself!

      June 13, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  15. Samson

    I was so not serious when I posted that comment, I just thought it was a fun idea that would be cool if it happened. I never thought they'd put it in an article lol.

    June 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Snacklefish

    Go choke on some Mueslix, tree huggers!

    June 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  17. NotForYou

    All animals taste better grilled in BBQ sauce.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  18. Do Vegans even think?

    So I always wonder when these articles come up and the Vegans come out saying meat is evil don't it meat. Do the vegans even think their idea through? If we didn't eat meat and all of a sudden we had all this livestock that wasn't going to be put to use we would literally have to wipe out the species because many many breeds can no longer live without the assistance of humans. Take dairy cows for example, many of the breeds never stop producing milk which with out being harvested would cause their utter to rupture resulting in an extremely painful death. If vegans want to get rid of meat as a part of our diet I say fine but all of you have to personally go and slaughter the billions of animals that will need to be killed and then you can throw the bodies in the mass graves because I will have no part in the extinction of multiple species.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Owned by a vegan

      "Take dairy cows for example, many of the breeds never stop producing milk..."

      Wrong. Just like humans, cows only produce milk when they've given birth. They also stop producing milk less a year after giving birth. The only reasons cows produce milk for most of their lives is because they are perpetually inseminated. Please lose the idea that humans are doing cows a favor by inseminating and then milking them. It is comically false. That milk is intended for the calves, not you.

      Also – it is unlikely that everyone in the country would stop consuming meat at one point in time. Rather, meat consumption would slowly decrease, which would create less demand and eventually less supply. Please lose the idea that by breeding animals for consumption and subjecting them to obscenely inhumane conditions that humans are doing animals a favor by keeping their species alive.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  19. Mr._John

    I eat meat, and most people eat meat, but I'm also willing to pay more for meat that was humanely raised. Farming needs to be better regulated so that ALL farmers are playing by the same rules and you don't have farmer A (or large corp.) abusing animals in the name of profit while farmer B is spending much more money to treat his animals humanely but is losing out to farmer A at the supermarket because his costs are higher. The industry needs better regulations.

    And, for any of you that will jump on the word "regulations" or claim who cares about animals we eat or whatever dumb thing you'll defend Michael Vick for doing... I challenge you to work a day on a slaughterhouse kill floor. How about just watching a movie of a slaughterhouse kill floor? Trust me, you and your big mouths would be throwing up your cookies in 15 minutes. A lot of talk for a lot of uninformed and indifferent people.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      The word humanely is used by people to make them selves feel better. At the end of the day you're still killing something. If you were really concerned about the animals you wouldn't eat them.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • mike

        so then what, if you really cared for the earth and all living things then you should just stop eating.....right? get all of your nutrients from the air and ground, hmm? we are not plants! think before you speak.

        June 13, 2012 at 12:14 am |
      • shawn l

        I could care less that I'm killing an animal as long as its done with a minimal amount of pain. We are meant to eat meat, and none of your pseudo science bull will ever change that. Until they can produce artificial meat that tastes and feels the same as meat from the farm, I and 95% of the world will continue to enjoy meat.

        June 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
        • MJ08

          If we were meant to eat meat, we would have the teeth similar to a wolf or any other carnivorous animal.

          June 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • rh

      Killing something without regard to how it lived its life and how it died is inhumane.

      By the same token, abortion should be legal up until childbirth, and you should also be able to kill babies until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

      How a society takes care of its animals reflects on how it takes care of its women and children.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • bob

      A fetus isn't a person, Mr._John, while a newborn baby is. You might want to learn the difference between the two before you make asinine comparisons.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  20. Maureen A. Reynolds

    I like bacon and pork. I don't think that the pigs should be tortured. And make no mistake, gestation crates constitute torture. No one should have to live like that, not even a pig. Can't turn around or scratch and itch... That's just flat out wrong. We know better.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  21. Lord Romney

    Whatever gives me bacon and sausage AND gets the most money to the billion dollar farming corporations that need the money to feed their families.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  22. theresa

    It's likely that most farm animals would be extinct if we didn't farm them. Horses would have gone the way of the dinosaur if we hadn't learned to ride them & use them for farm work, or eat them (though I don't like that idea). Feral pigs can do a lot of damage to crops & can be very mean animals to come across. If we stopped farming them & eating them, feral pigs are all we would have left. Eventually, as a means of protecting our crops, we would probably hunt them to extinction. While I don't think I could ever slaughter anything I personally raised, I can understand a need for farming animals to feed people & preserve some animal species.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  23. Kajal

    A lot of people here seem to be mad at the author for writing this article.
    I don't get it.
    Nobody is coming to your home or creating a law that says you can't eat meat.
    This is an opinion piece, and everybody has a right to their opinion. The article compiles opinions of several people to make a point. If you don't like this article, you don't have to read it, much less live it.
    However, everybody does have a right to express their view point, and trying to tell them to shut up is against basic decency. Do animals have a right to their life? Yes, it is indeed a valid, if inconvenient, question. You are welcome to avoid it.
    Your rants are also your wish. I am not yelling at people for ranting. Just pointing out to them that they shouldn't yell at other people for ranting either.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  24. hex2323

    I could never be a Vegan or even a Vegetarian. It is not a solution for everybody. If the thought of killing an animal sickens you, then fine. If the thought of milking a cow sickens you, fine.

    It doesn't sicken me. I don't come on CNN and make a huge case about how farmers make vegetables stand up straight in long rows through all weather conditions just to cut them down in the prime of their life and EAT them, so back off with the meat guilt trip.

    Consider yourself lucky to HAVE food and call it a day.

    June 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Charlotte

      What a pathetic attempt to vilify those whose food choices are different from yours. Are you so insecure that you have to lash out like this? Most people are not opposed to someone eating meat if they want (including most vegetarians or vegans) but we ARE opposed to the inhumane practices of factory agribusiness. If you have no soul, then you can shrug it off and continue defending your carnivorous food choices as if any who have different choices have somehow attacked you, but it says worse about you than it does about them. Especially since they have not done so. Methinks you doth protest too much. Why not try using a brain instead of lashing out at people because they eat differently from you, and listening to what they are actually saying instead of what you fancy you are defending against.

      June 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • William

        There are millions of American HUMAN children who would give anything to have the food security that these animals have; millions of Americans who crave a roof over their heads. It's not about food choices, this is about getting the selfish thrill of belonging to a cause, without the intellectual and economic challenges of trying to help other human beings.

        June 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
        • Jose

          Well said William, thanks for putting humans first........... Charlotte find a different cause; bye the way "factory agribusinees" is a very poor choice of words to call thousands of farmers, their families and the communitees that support them.

          June 11, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
      • JoJoJOWilliams

        Who cares? More angry veggie fanatics.

        June 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • anon

        We are very fortunate in this day and time to even have the luxury of choosing to go vegetarian. Up until fairly recently in human history, much of what people ate was meat. That was simply all they had. Fruits and veggies were seasonal, at best. The average person lived just as long as they generally do today. Life expectancy has gone up mainly because infant mortality from disease, and childbirth deaths among women have gone way down.

        People actually ate much healthier then in the days prior to vegetarianism being "in".

        June 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • Ally

        Charlotte, from your response: "What a pathetic attempt to vilify those whose food choices are different from yours."

        And you go on to say: "If you have no soul, then you can shrug it off and continue defending your carnivorous food choices as if any who have different choices have somehow attacked you, but it says worse about you than it does about them."

        You need to take some of your own medicine.

        June 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • hex2323


        Someone needs a steak.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:20 am |
      • hex2323

        But seriously, your response is the EXACT reason I posted. Look at YOUR language toward me and tell me you did NOT just attack me 4 different times. You are a hypocrite and an evil person. I made no attempt at personal attacks in my post. READ IT AGAIN. NO PERSONAL ATTACKS.

        Then you come one here with your holier than thou nonsense? Attacking me? The one who said everyone do what you want, but stop telling me eating meat leads to horror show animal slaughters and I have 'no soul'?

        You know that those videos they show of all the animal abuse are bogus, or isolated incidents used as propaganda? Have you ever BEEN to a real farm? No, because you are probably disgusted by the very animals you claim to love.

        The farmers care for these animals better than nature does and their deaths are usually more human than a death in the wild would be. Their lives are londer. They are better fed. They are cared for. Get your head out of the clouds, get in your hybrid and go see for yourself.

        You are wrong, missy. And mean spirited and evil.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  25. Pamela Haley Design

    Vegans main source of protein comes from Soy. Most Soy is GMO. They may be crazy due to their low fat and low protein diet... or maybe it's the fruits and vegetables in which they inadvertently promote the homogenization of.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  26. Selendis

    Here is a nifty solution. If you are terribly concerned about how animals are farmed, boycott them. Stop running to your local heb, or publix to buy meat in plastic packaging. go through the trouble of researching nice little mom and pop farms you can buy from, grow your own, or give up meat entirely. but stop trying to tell others how to live. It's not a hard concept really, you can feel good about yourself, and other people wont have the urge to kick you in the teeth.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Sara

      Absolutely! It's not a choice between factory farming or veganism, which is where I think a lot of the debate falls flat. As admirable as a vegan diet is, most people in this country cannot and will not commit to that particular way of eating. So when you tell someone that unless they're a vegan, they're a terrible, Earth-destroying murderer, it's really counterproductive. Most of the time, you'll just piss that person off with your smug, self-righteous attitude and send them running straight to the nearest Burger King just to spite you.
      We are not vegetarians, but we also don't want to support the atrocity that is factory farming. So we buy our meat and eggs directly from a local farm with a monthly share, similar to a CSA. Yes, it's more expensive, but we keep our total budget in check by eating less meat (which is healthier, anyway) and cutting down on the amount we eat out. It's worth it to us to know that we're supporting humane, sustainable farming practices and getting healthier food in the process.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Ham Sammich

      I'll still have the urge to kick vegans in the teeth.

      It's a mitzvah.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  27. Tofutti

    Animals Are Not Ours to Eat
    Animals Are Not Ours to Wear
    Animals Are Not Ours to Experiment On
    Animals Are Not Ours to Use for Entertainment
    Animals Are Not Ours to Abuse in Any Way

    June 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Relictus

      Yes they are. We raise them for food.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:15 am |
      • Linda

        Wow to say they were bred for us to eat that is what they said about slaves they were bred for slavery! That is a sick way of thinking you may want to rethink that.

        June 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
        • Ham Sammich

          Shut your man-pleaser Linda. You're obviously not using it for anything useful

          June 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nom Nom Nom

      Sorry but you and all your vegan/vegetarian friends are crazies.

      In order to live on this planet, you must kill. Animals eat each other or plants, and we eat animals. We evolved by eating animals and plants. Humans are omnivores. Being a vegetarian is not natural.

      I am concerned about how the animals are treated. And I don't know what the solution is. And if any garments or by products are gained from using an animal for meat, that's ok. I wouldn't advocate killing just for the garment and discarding the meat.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:57 am |
      • Charlotte

        Nonsense. In order to live on this planet, you must exist and eat on a sustainable basis. There is nothing preventing us from doing so in a humane fashion, other than the desire to feel manly through being as callous and brutal as possible. Yes, to eat meat you have to kill it (preferably first but in some cultures they don't wait). But this does not mean that you have to turn a deliberately blind eye to a lifetime of torture for the creature whom you would devour. That's just evil.

        June 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
        • Ham Sammich

          Charlotte, if I wanted to hear crazy and stupid... No, wait, I don't want to hear any of that. Just shut up. Go choke on some tofu-bones.

          June 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Pamela Haley Design

      I think it's a fact that well treated animals taste better. Vegans are a little crazy since they don't get enough protein to their brains... and the protein they do get is from GMO soy. Don't say you're any better as you promote the corporate homogenization of our fruits and vegetables.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • emma96

      NomNomNom – you hit the nail on the head. Trust me Tofruitifruitcake – if THEY were on top of the food chain – would THEY be eating and wearing us? Oh yes, yes they would.Lets dump yourself out amongst the lions in would your vegan mantra fit in there? Here kitty kitty kitty..............

      June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Samson

      If you're not for experimenting on animals, then you are either for human experimentation or for halting almost all medical advancement. Those are your options.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  28. You are not intelligent

    With so many humans there has to be a way to feed all them what they want.

    So when you can mathematically figure out how much pigs you can have in a certain area you can figure out how many lbs in pig meat you have, you know your profits. Its a win win for the company, ensuring the most amount of pigs in the little space, also ensures they can have enough pigs to supply enough people. The only loser is the pig sitting in a crate not moving all day. But guess what? Farming practices have evolved dramatically and they did so in a way to feed mass amounts of people. It will not change, because then people will starve.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Compassion

      Learning to not kill a helpless animal *when there are alternatives*, not only benefits the animal, but benefits the learner. The learner will have made a transition from acting impulsively on his/her wants to being mindful that all animal value life (even if it's just their own). It may not make sense from the "wolf vs " perspective, but that's exactly the point. Compassion is not about looking at the situation from a cost-benefit analysis point of view, it's about humility. Despite what reality T.V may have taught, you are not the most important thing in your own life.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • nethril

        We, the human, are typically at the top of the food chain. The food chain consists of animals that eats animals. Bears, lions, wolves, snakes, etc, etc, etc. In many of those cases, the animal they are hunting / killing is helpless in comparison and dies very slowly and very painfully. We, the human, have found ways to kill our prey in ways that are far less painful and far more humane, in addition to providing these animals everything they need to live and be healthy until that time.

        People need to realize that their choice isn't the right choice for everyone. I am not against you living a vegan lifestyle, and I am very happy for you that it works for you. I choose to eat a lifestyle that includes me eating meat.

        Just like the iPhone may be great for you, I prefer Android. You may be religious and I choose not to be. You choose not to eat meat, and I choose to enjoy it.

        – Nethril

        June 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  29. carman

    people don't seem to understand there is a difference between Farrowing stalls and Gestation stalls.While I do believe the Farrowing stalls are important for the safety of the piglets and sow, the Gestation stalls are only designed to hold the maximum number of sows in the least amount of space, and not really benificial to the health of the sow. I have seen smaller farms provide more space for the sows and they tend to have a healthier animal, but it does require more work.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  30. WorldOfMorons

    Anyone who uses any information for HSUS or PETA is a moron and should do some real research on both of these organizations... HSUS is a lobbing organization that solicits money form people making them believe that it is directly going to shelters and rescue organizations...WRONG it goes to line the pockets of politicians and force ridiculous rules and laws upon the animal loving public. PETA's main goal is to end all ownership of animals, they believe that your pet dog or cat would due better off spayed or neutered and live in the wild with only itself to care for it.

    Humans are OMNIVORES , so are dogs, cats and most other domestic pets, dogs and cats and HUMANS need meat to survive healthily. Yes can you survive and be healthy on a vegan diet, but you will be a lot healthier if you ate clean, properly raised meats with out steroids, antibiotics etc pumped into the animal and vegetables that have not been genetically modified sprayed with chemicals and processed to the point of being junk food.

    No Farms No Food... Oh wait no problem we will just have China, the Philippines and the sub-asian continent make everything for us and run up an even higher national debt!!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  31. Kim

    I love CNN for always bringing animal welfare issues to the forefront – however – Marcus P's comment does NOT belong under "respect for all creatures"!!!! I just find it "funny" how so many people in America got SO bent out of shape over Michael Vick – yet sit down for a meat meal at dinner, when these animals basically live a similar, if not worse life. Amazing how the human mind can compartmentalize things so that their life does not have to be affected or changed.

    June 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Relictus

      I don't care, so long as I get my meat. I want cheap food and you animal lovers had best stay out of my way.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Mr._John

      What a dumb argument... two wrongs make a right. Okay, well, people are being slaughtered and a daily basis in Africa, so if somebody kills you, then why investigate the crime... people are dying every day in Africa. Great logic, "Kim."

      June 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  32. WDinDallas

    Yum, pork.

    I get some of my pig free range. They live free, eat acorns, my deer corn, grubs, worms and even each other.

    Get to know your pigs.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  33. Kathleen Robinson

    Just one more reason I'm vegetarian.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • lsj401


      June 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Ham Sammich

      Too many viewings of "Bambi" and your deep=seated daddy issues had more to do with it.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  34. thomas

    And all you that want a perfect growing condition in the way you think it should be without knowing a thing of which you speak, would not be willing to pay $20-$30 for a couple of pieces of bacon, or a burger or a piece of chicken. You all are so holy and self righteous but you don't practice what you preach.

    June 9, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  35. Kieran

    Oh god.....they're BACK........

    Didn't you vegans die of malnutrition yet?

    June 9, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  36. Lila

    The comments chosen were ridiculous. According to the original article there is a solution and it's working. It says corporations, restaurants and stores are CHOOSING producers who don't use the crates. Why? Because the public wants it. These businesses should be applauded for taking this step and listening to their customers. Whoever put together those lame comments especially from the "field""how will farmers fare" apparently didn't bother reading the original article. BTW the fear that our meat will be imported from other countries, it's already going on! American farmers are sending live piglets to countries like China to be raised and slaughtered oversees.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  37. Sara

    If you're concerned about animal welfare, but you don't want to go totally vegetarian, there is a great solution: Buy your meat directly from a local farmer, one where you can go and see how the animals are treated before signing on for a share.
    Yes, it's more expensive, but the extra cost can easily be mitigated by simply eating less meat. No one needs to be eating meat twice a day, or even every day. Frankly, most of us would be better off if we lowered our total meat consumption and invested in a smaller amount of humanely raised, organic and/or pastured meat.

    June 9, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Chris

      Absolutely right!

      June 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Kim

      I'm a vegetarian but I agree 100% with you . If everyone cut back their meat consumption, it would NOT cost them $20 for a hamburger (as some has stated) and the animals would be given respect during their short lives. While I wish the world became vegan, I know that will not happen and do not "push" for that. If people want change, they need to be willing to take the steps in their life to assist in that change. Thanks for the great post.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Jose

      NOT TRUE. Even if farmers tried to raise everything local, you would still complain about the smell and the sight of pigs. Because you would not want a pig farm, reguardless of size in your community. You just want to complain. Besides with these "pasture" pigs, where does their manure go, Yep straight to the water. What about the cold and the heat, how is the pasture pig going to deal with that? The farms you complain about do far better job of manure management and enviroment for the animal then you want to admit. So just be honest with yourself as a vegan, and let us ominvores choose.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:11 am |
      • Ham Sammich

        "Choice" is the last thing vegans want.

        They want to give us the same choice that famous vegetarian Adolf Hitler offered the world: "My way or death."

        June 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  38. Pablo

    Your articles are poorly written and inaccurate. Birthing stalls are necessary because the mother pig if given room walks in circles and kills the piglets. Canabalism sometimes results if the little piglets cannot leave the stall and the survival rate drops dramatically.

    The real agenda behind the protest of birthing stalls is to drive up the price of meat and make unprofitable.

    The agenda is NOT animal welfare, but rather burdening producers and consumers with higher costs.

    The reality is that people want cheap meat, and the only way to get it is to raise vast numbers of animals.

    The uninformed idiots who feel for the animals forget it when the go to mcdonalds.

    Having worked on farms and seen animal life and death first hand, it is a necessary part of life.

    June 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Hi Pablo,

      No one is arguing against the utility of farrowing stalls or that they are necessary for the safety and wellbeing of piglets - those are generally agreed to be necessary. What's being discussed are the gestation stalls they live in while they're pregnant (most of their lives). Two separate circumstances.


      June 9, 2012 at 8:16 am |
      • Derek

        Wiithout the gestation crate, the sows will fight very aggresivly, causing serious wounds and even death. Lame sows will have to be put down. The sows are differnet in size and aggresiveness, timid sows are chased away by "boss" sows at feeding time and are at a disadvantage. The gestation crate was designed to protect the sows from each other.

        Is it possible to segregate sows during gestation? Yes, but it would be very difficult and expensive. It would be a major change for the industry and will be shown in the price of pork.

        June 14, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Kim

      I live without consuming animal meat – apparently not a necessity of life. And Kat is right – two completely different topics...

      June 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Relictus

      Well said, Pablo! More cheap meat, less silly people with dopey ideas! Meat is expensive ... but it would be ridiculously expensive without modern farming.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  39. strategicstl

    Pig are aggressive. Having their own space or gestation stall is what a sow wants frankly. Open the door see if they go out of it often if at all. Pigs push around each other a bit too. Pregnant sows view crates much like a dog views its dog house as a source of security.

    Ever have a pregnant wife? If she were in JFK airport during peak loads, she would be looking for her own "gestation crate" space.

    I guess you could argue what is the right amount of space but the idea of a crate is just smart for the animal!

    June 8, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Amy

      I think someone should put you in a crate.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
      • Ham Sammich

        I think you should stay in yours until you're useful.

        June 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |

    Smithfield Hams not gonna to do a dag-damn thing about it for the next five years. Now, the biggest question I have is, will I still be promotin' them or, lettin' em still contin-ya to grease my hot little hand??......As long as I'm still..'.perky', I guess they'll take that as a 'yes'. I gotta make those bucks, y'all. Capitalism is alive and well and those factory farms are lickin' up the drippin's. I might as well roll along and lick it up with 'em..Wooo-eeee.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  41. Liz the First

    I'm a proud omnivore. i have no problem with being at the upper end of the food chain. but i have a real problem with the horrendous cruelty perpetrated in the meat industry, there is no excuse for it other than greed and laziness. there is a right, and much healthier, way to raise food animals. the healthier and happier they are, the better off the planet as a whole and we as consumers will be. just because things have been done a certain way for decades or generations, it doesn't mean they have to stay that way. time to reform the meat industry and treat our animals humanely.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Pablo

      Have you ever been to a farm and worked 12 hour days taking care of pigs and cows. if you look at the business side of it the fantasy you proposed never existed. Animals could only live in the open when the human population was less than half a billion people.

      The productivity needed for 7 billion people mandates a LOT of modern agriculture. If you think its bad here, go to the rest of the world and the animal abuse is incredible... Let alone the human abuse. See what they do in china, or the far east.

      Animals are treated very humanely today by historical and world wide standards. Modern farming techniques are actually more human than some of our historical methods. Concentration has issues, but frankly unless you reduce humans the needs of a large population dictates large scale modern agriculture.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
      • Charlotte just because little Johnny does it, that makes it right for little Billy, too. Excuse a pun, but hogwash. The 7 billion people don't need to eat animals all the time and the obese ones in the US would be a lot better off if they backed away from the trough a bit themselves and ate a little less meat, even if they do not become vegetarian. Quit trying to make it about some egalitarian urge to feed the world. It's a desire to maximize corporate profits and to he77 with the world's starving people. Soulless and brutal with no care for the animals who are treated like so many widgets on an assembly line. Eternal damnation awaits such people.

        June 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
        • Ham Sammich

          Do something useful for mother earth and all 7 billion of us, Charlotte.

          Kill yourself.

          June 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  42. Primal 4 Life

    They are totally unnecessary if the pigs are no factory raised. Google Joel Salatin and read about his farm Poly Face to see how farming is done the right way. The man is a farming genius.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  43. karojen

    Pigs are extremely intelligent animals. They are not like cows or chickens, they know what is happening to them. They can suffer mentally from being crated. I had a pet pig and I read that they are right up there with dogs and even close to dolphins.

    People love pork and that's ok, but can't we treat these funny, intelligent mammals decently during the last part of their life.

    My pig even had a wonderful sense of humor. I've read how pet pigs have save their owner's lives.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Rick

      they are intelligent animals. given the choice of dying that way or taking the other way out, they may commit sooey-cide

      June 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Ham Sammich

      Your pig had a sense of humor?

      How did it taste?

      June 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • anon

      Yes, and they, unlike cows and chickens, have enough brains to sense death when they are crammed in the shoot waiting to be slaughtered. A cow will just stand there like a clueless beast, but a pig realizes what is just up ahead and tries desperately to back away or run out.

      Kind of sad, and one of the reasons I try to abstain from pork. The best reason to just avoid pork is because it's just not that healthy a meat. But ohhh, so good!!

      June 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • rh

        The same thing is true about lab rats, if they smell blood let alone hear screams, they freak out and the lab tests can be all but useless. Different technicians would treat the animals differently. The lab I worked at, the lady would hold the rat around the chest, and swing it around to make it dizzy, and then decapitate it. This was the best they had in terms of anesthesia before killing it.

        June 14, 2012 at 10:29 am |
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