BY SOFO ARCHON
A lot of people enjoy eating pork (which is nothing but a euphemism for pig flesh), without giving a moment’s thought to what exactly is going on in the pork industry — if they knew, most would immediately change their eating habits.
Below are some of the most disturbing facts about the American pork industry that most probably nobody told you before and which everyone should be aware of, as mentioned in the revealing book The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason:
- More than 90 percent of pigs raised for meat today are raised indoors in crowded pens of concrete and steel. They never go outside or root around in pasture and don’t even have straw to bed down in.
- The most tightly confined of all are the breeding sows.
- Under the factory’s rigid production schedule, they are made to produce litter after litter as quickly as possible, which means that they are pregnant for most of their lives.
- During their pregnancies, which last about 16 weeks, most American sows are confined in ‘gestation crates’ —steel-barred crates or stalls just a foot or so longer than their bodies, and so narrow that the sows cannot even turn around.
- When the time comes to give birth, they are also confined in what producers call a farrowing crate….The farrowing crate keeps the sow in position, with her teats always exposed to her piglets. She is unable to roll over—and this, the defenders of the crate say, ensures that she will not roll on top of, and perhaps smother, her piglets.
- Of the 1.8 million sows used for breeding by America’s ten biggest pig producers, about 90 percent are kept in this manner, and for the industry as a whole, the figure is around 80 percent.
- In addition to psychological stress, sows in crates are also less healthy than sows able to walk around. …Sows in crates frequently become lame and develop foot injuries from standing on concrete for every moment when they are not lying down. They also get more urinary tract infections.
As the authors point out, “in these conditions, apart from the brief period when they are eating, these sensitive, intelligent, and highly social animals have nothing to do all day. They cannot walk around or socialize with other sows. All they can do is stand up or lie down on the bare concrete floor.”
Here’s how pigs behave when they are free and how they react when their freedom is taken away, as also mentioned in the same book:
- Pigs like to forage and explore their environment.
- In natural conditions they will spend up to three-quarters of their waking hours doing this. In stalls, of course, they cannot.
- When a sow is first put into a stall, she typically tries to escape and may push against or attack the bars.
- After a time, she gives up, and often becomes quite inactive and unresponsive.
- This, the scientific veterinary committee says, indicates clinical depression.
- Other sows in stalls carry out meaningless, repetitive motions, like biting the bars of a stall, chewing the air, shaking their heads from side to side, nosing around repeatedly in the empty feed trough. These pointless movements are signs of stress, similar to the endless back and forth pacing of tigers and other big cats when kept in the traditional sterile cages of old-fashioned zoos.
Of course, the worst thing that happens to the pigs is that eventually they are killed. Those innocent, beautiful and intelligent animals had to go through so much suffering and a brutal death, just so that their meat can be sold to us, with the sole purpose of satisfying our appetite and filling in the pockets of the pork industry.
Pigs, just like all the other animals that people eat, deserve a much better life than the one we force them to live. I used to be one of those who contributed to their suffering, but now, knowing about all these disturbing facts, I am not doing it anymore, and I’m trying my best to help put an end to the immense cruelty that humans impose on them.
Will you join my efforts?