Help Stop the Inhumane Treatment of Female Pigs

gestation crate

In an undercover investigation, the Humane Society detailed the suffering endured by female breeding pigs. They are kept in ‘gestation crates’ in factory farm. It’s quite the euphemism, as gestation crates are tiny, tiny crates, often without enough room for the pigs to move around (see the horrid photo). These pigs get sores and infection and often engage in damaging neurotic behavior.

Gestation crates have been banned by the European Union and New Zealand, and also in eight U.S. states.

The largest pork company in the world, Smithfield Foods, however, is still guilty of having such operations. They have broken their commitment to phase out the usage of gestation crates by 2017.

Recently, Burger King and Wendy’s have decided to start phasing out pork products from pigs in gestation crates (they haven’t eliminated it entirely yet), but McDonald’s still has yet to join. Perhaps if McDonald’s decides to stop using pork from farms using gestation crates, Smithfield will have no choice but to keep their promise.

Feel strongly? Sign the petition here.

Here’s my reason for signing (also displayed on the petition website):

“Upon a recent visit to a small farm, I met a 13 year old sow that had many many litters of piglets. She was happy and friendly. I saw the way animals should live, even if ultimately they will be eaten. Comparatively, gestation crates seem unnecessary and cruel.”

Read more of my encounter with a happy sow here.

All pigs should be at least this happy:


Photo (gestation crates): Wikimedia Commons

Photo (happy sow): © Jeannie Moulton

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About the Author

I spent the last five years earning my PhD in Engineering. I enjoy all types of science and writing, so I am trying out a new career path in science publication and communication. Recently, I have moved to Oxford, England. As an environmentally-conscious person, Oxford is a great place to live...notably there is no car required. I love to talk about vegan cooking, plant-based diets and the benefits of such, so just ask if you are interested. I do ballet for fun and love kitties.
  • This treatment and greed will backfire because of the internet. They got away with it for decades. Information gets around so quickly now. The jig is up, Smithfield and all the other barbaric, disgusting companies.

    • I hope you are right. The noise needs to get louder.

    • Jeannie Moulton

      I also hope you are right. It’s too easy to be separated from your food when all you see are packets in supermarkets….

  • I agree. There is a great quote in The Omnivore’s Dilemma that says that if the walls of factory farms were made of glass, people would not want what is inside. I signed the petition and hope thta McDonalds takes this next step. Having stated that… it is just a step. Much more is needed before we can say that any of these companies paying for factory farms are doing the right thing.

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  • This is absolutely horrifying. The executives of these companies should be prosecuted for cruelty towards animals!

  • this is totally unnecessary- no one needs meat..Animals should not be treated this way.

  • Our animals are a reflection of our soul because they are innocent..we must not forget that we are more than the sum of our parts…we must look deeper to understand our purpose in life…..namaste