Letter: HSUS officer offers correction to letterMike Bogle’s letter (“Humane Society is inconsistent,” Tuesday’s Daily Globe) misstates the facts about gestation crate confinement in pork production.
By: Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection, The Humane Society of the U.S., Washington, D.C., Worthington Daily Globe
Mike Bogle’s letter (“Humane Society is inconsistent,” Tuesday’s Daily Globe) misstates the facts about gestation crate confinement in pork production.
In reality, pregnant sows are confined in gestation crates — two-foot-wide cages where they can’t even turn around — at every moment of every day for four months at a time. Once they’re ready to give birth, they’re then moved to a similarly restrictive cage called a farrowing crate, where they spend the next three weeks. At that point, they’re re-impregnated and the cycle repeats, meaning these intelligent, social animals spend nearly every minute of their lives in a state of immobilization.
The HSUS has worked with retailers and pork producers to phase out gestation crates, which are used during the sow’s pregnancy, but has not worked to ban farrowing crates. Numerous experts, such as Temple Grandin, Ph.D., condemn this inhumane practice and argue it must be phased out. That’s one reason major pork buyers like McDonald’s, Costco and Burger King are ending their use of gestation crate pork. And many small farmers have never used them to begin with. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by the National Pork Board found that 53 percent of pork producers do not use gestation crates or have plans to phase them out.
The HSUS agrees with the majority of pork producers who believe there’s no future for gestation crates, and it’s time to move to higher-welfare group housing systems for sows that are already in widespread use.