Gestation (pregnancy) crates are miserable both in concept and practice. This is real:
Imagine you are a sow, a female pig. You weigh hundreds of pounds, but are confined to a metal stall measuring 2 feet by 7 feet. It is so narrow that you cannot turn around. When you become exhausted from standing on the cold concrete floor, you collapse into a pile of your own waste. Infected, oozing abscesses and sores appear on your skin because you cannot escape the filth. You have lived this way since you were seven months old, so do not know anything better, but something about this place seems instinctually wrong. You are so bored you chew on the bars of your cage to try and keep from going totally mad. It doesn’t help. If you were free, you would root in the soil with your delicate nose, sink into a mud bath to cool during summer time, and spend time with your family. It’s not to be. You will undergo, continuously, cycles of artificial insemination and birth, and produce more than 20 piglets per year. Your young will be taken away, and like you, will be crowded into pens with metal bars and concrete floors. When you have had three litters, your body will be too stressed to produce more. Deemed worthless, you will be slaughtered. You died not knowing that had you been born in the European Union, or one of eight U.S. states (including CA, OH, and MI), this would be illegal. Nor did you know that everyday citizens put such pressure on McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s to end this brutal but routine practices that the fast food giants agreed.
It’s strange to think that industry and not government might lead the way in bettering the lives of animals raised for food. These improvements are a step along the way to that far-off vegan world we strive for. Join us in petitioning meat processor Tyson Foods’ use of gestation crates in the supply chain. A flood of angry individuals will hopefully make the company sit up and take notice.
On a happier note, pigs are pretty fascinating! And joyous! According to the Chinese Zodiac, people born in the year of the pig are happy and honest. Which is pretty much true – if you allow them an interesting and clean place to live, and don’t mess with their young, they won’t mess with you. I’m going to make it out to Peaceful Prairie Animal Sanctuary to hang out with some piggies as soon as I possibly can.