Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gestation Crates: Torture?

As maybe some of you have heard, McDonald's is requiring its pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation crates by May.  McDonald's, I'm sure, is doing this because they feel it will help boost their sales...that  consumers feel animal welfare is important.  That being said, it's rather surprising to see how many people are willing to bash McDonald's  for its decision and, instead, support this cruel confinement. 

For those of you who don't know what a gestation crate is, look below.  It is a very small crate meant to confine the pig so it is unable to turn around and can barely lie down.  People will say that they are approved by veterinarians and they are used to prevent the sows from lying on their babies.  This is true, the pigs are in overcrowded housing (unlike in the wild) and the mortality rate of the babies can increase without these stalls/crates.  If you look at this from an economical perspective, or business perspective, farmers do not want the babies to die because then their sow isn't producing efficiently.  Yes, the pigs are a commodity.  Just another product they're trying to sell and make a profit on.

Of course, I don't want piglets to die from being smothered by their mother, but this happens because of the mass production of these animals.  The industrialization of animal farming has brought on many new means of production that aren't as humane as we would like to tell ourselves.  Gestation crates fit into this category.

The confinement of pigs can lead to joint damage, leg weakness, increase in susceptibility to urinary tract infections, immobility, psychological problems including chronic stress, depression, and aggression.  There is much research done on pigs being unable to move, living on steel/concrete floors, unable to perform their natural behaviors and living in overcrowded conditions.  But, why would a human who is compassionate and empathic think this is torture?  Imagine you living your shortened life this way.

Please, stand up for our fellow animals.