July 9, 2012
Ban Gestation Crates
Cruel confinement for Canada’s breeding pigs
Pigs are extremely smart, social animals capable of feeling fear, pain, and stress. Studies show that they are more intelligent than dogs and even some primates, and scientists have demonstrated that pigs are capable of playing simple video games, learning from each other, and even learning names.
Most breeding sows in Canada are confined in "gestation crates" for virtually their entire lives. These crates are about the same width and length of a pig's body, preventing the animals from even turning around. This is one of the cruelest practices in all of agribusiness. Read more about gestation crates in Canada.
It's simply wrong to confine farm animals in tiny cages for their whole lives. Pigs housed in gestation crates bite the metal bars of their crates out of their frustration and boredom, often until their gums bleed.
We wouldn't force our pets to live in filthy, cramped cages for their whole lives, and we shouldn't force farm animals to endure such misery, either. All animals, including those raised for food, deserve protection from this abuse.
The crate-free trend
Around the world, countries are phasing out the use of cruel gestation crates. In the European Union, a ban on the use of crates will come into effect on January 1st, 2013. In New Zealand and Australia, gestation crates will be phased out by 2015 and 2017, respectively. In the United States, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island have all passed laws to phase out gestation crates, with other states considering similar plans.
In Canada, a 2010 Harris Decima poll confirmed that Canadians overwhelmingly want farm animals to be treated humanely, with 95 percent of respondents saying that they believed that all animals, including farm animals, should be spared pain and suffering. HSI/Canada and its partner organizations are making great progress for these animals. A growing number of major companies are acknowledging that gestation crates are a cruel way to confine mother pigs, and are asking their suppliers to phase out their use.
In 2012, some of the largest restaurants in the world announced plans to rid their supply chains of these cruel, confinement crates, including McDonalds, Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Wendy’s. The second largest supermarket chain in North America, Safeway, also announced their own plan to rid their supply chain of gestation crates.
In 2013, the Retail Council of Canada announced that eight of the largest Canadian supermarket chains would move away from gestation crate confinement of pigs in their supply systems.
Now, we are asking Canada’s pork industry to move as one to phase out gestation crates completely. Add your voice to the call to help improve life for mother pigs.
You also can say no to this cruelty by always purchasing crate-free pork and asking local restaurants not to use pork that comes from gestation crates.
The science is clear
The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production—which was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and included the former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture—recommended that "all systems that restrict natural movement," including gestation crates, be phased out.