“Throughout their four-month pregnancies, many of these sows live in cages just large enough to contain their bodies. As the sows grow bigger, the tight confinement means they can lie face down but can't flop over onto their sides. The floors under these ‘gestation crates’ are slotted so that urine and feces can slip through into vast cesspits. Immobilized above their own waste, the sows are exposed to high levels of ammonia, which causes respiratory problems. Just before they deliver, they're moved to farrowing crates, in which they have just enough space to nurse.
“Once the piglets are weaned, it's back to the gestation crate for the breeding sow, which averages two and a half pregnancies per year. After three or four years, the sow is slaughtered for meat.”And this, among other disturbing peeks into the world of captive sows:
“In Smithfield cages—which hold about a seventh of the breeding sows in the United States—the HSUS [Humane Society of the United States] documented sows repeatedly biting the bars of their cage, sometimes until ‘blood from their mouths coated the fronts of their crates.’”As Philpott explains, years of animal activism have had an effect; the 2 by 7 foot sow stalls – already banned across the European Union and a few American states – appear destined for extinction on this continent within a decade or two (not nearly soon enough for these victimized sows who would still have to endure them, in the tens of millions, until then).
|You wouldn't lock up your pregnant dog like this, would you?|
Though Philpott considers it unlikely, he concludes that if the backlash succeeds “it might force many of us to forswear pork—and I, for one, would really miss it.”
Well Tom (although I suspect you buy most of your pork from farmers who house their sows in groups on straw), by the same logic you might consider forswearing pork right now, because most of those millions of sows are still stuck in those wicked, solitary cages, day in day out, biting the bars until their mouths bleed.