Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Truth on Factory Pig Farming

I love bacon, pork and really any meat that comes from pigs. I found it disturbing when in one of my classes in first year I had to watch a clip about pig farming. The clip was only a few minutes long but I remember that it was interesting. I looked up pig farming and found a recent article about a town in the states that is fighting against having a factory pig farm built in their town.

It is suppose to be opened beside a prison and a residential area. Deeper into the article it says that it has been proven that people living within 150m of a pig farm are in danger of being exposed to things they shouldn't be. Both the prison and several of the houses are 150m and closer to where the pig farm is to be built. This alone should allow the people to win against having the pig farm built there or not. Yet it's not.

I wanted to learn more about the downside of pig farms so I looked up a clip on YouTube called “PIG FARMING IN NZ”.

What I learned about factory pig farming from this clip is:

- In some countries pregnant pigs are confined in sow crates which is an area so small they can only sit up or lay down for their whole pregnancy. Most develop foot and leg problems from the lack of exercise. It causes them to be at risk for urinary infections and heart disease. These pigs are very stressed and suffering a lot.

- Farrowing crates are where the pigs are taken when they give birth, it is as small as the sow crate. The pigs can not even move around to care for the piglets.

- After four weeks the baby pigs are taken from their mom and the mom pig is put back in the sow crate and impregnated again. The cycle starts all over again.

- If pigs can't produce piglets fast enough they are then slaughtered.

- Fattening pens are where pigs are kept once they are separated from their mothers. They basically sit in their own feces all day in dark over crowded pens.

- Some pigs get so stressed they first start biting each others tails and then become cannibals. To prevent this pigs tails are cut off by humans and it is extremely painful.

- Pigs will never experience sunshine, fresh air, be able to run and only eat a very plain diet. Their life expectancy is naturally 15 years, a factory farm pigs is less then 6 months.

- At the end of the line for these pigs they have to go through a terrifying ride to the slaughter house and are killed there.

There is good news though. In several countries they have banned or are currently phasing out sow crates where pregnant pigs were once kept. Also many pig farmers are becoming free range farmers. The pigs are raised in much better conditions on these farms. The only con is that the pigs are stilled slaughtered at a very young age. It is good to see that there is alternatives to factory pig farming.

Leah McGarrett

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