Time to end use of gestation crates

Published 10:49 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013

To the editor:

I want to thank Smithfield for moving away from gestation crates for breeding pigs, and the Suffolk News-Herald for covering the story (“Hog housing improves,” Jan. 7). Gestation crates are one of the cruelest farming practices in the United States, confining animals in tiny enclosures barely larger than their own bodies. Pigs, who are much smarter than our cats and dogs, can’t even turn around in a circle for years on end in the crates.
Sadly, many laggards in the pork industry are still using and endorsing them, including Tyson, Prestage, and Seaboard, and even the National Pork Producers Council, while Smithfield, Hormel, 40 other major food companies, and nine U.S. states are moving away from them. While eliminating the crates doesn’t create a pig paradise, it does help to reduce their pain.

The time has come to end the use of gestation crates for a more humane society.

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Jennifer Thompson