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  • The "hot air" is the paper by McGee, not in organic farming. Please see the response of IFOAM - Organics International at www.foam.bio.


  • I just ate a pork chop. Yummy. And i grew up on a farm and we put pigs in crates. Of course they can lie down in there. But lose sows often lie on their ...


  • No, dismissing animal feelings because we "do not know" is unjust. But just for the record, surmounting evidence illustrates that animals have feelings.


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  • Translating Food Technology: Why the Consumer Reports beef 'expose' deserves to be flushed

    Did Consumer Reports get it right or wrong about beef?

    Hitting newstands last week, Consumer Reports magazine's article “How Safe is Your Beef,” tells shoppers its testing suggests your ground beef is full of harmful bacteria, that ground beef coming from animals raised in the normal beef-production system is more heavily contaminated than beef raised "more sustainably", and that sustainable beef is less likely to be contaminated with germs that can make you sick with a disease that doesn't respond to antibiotic treatment.

    Sympathetic media headline writers pronounced, "Your ground beef is full of poop."

    For its investigation, Consumer Reports purchased 300 packages of conventionally and sustainably produced ground beef from grocery, big-box and natural food stores in 26 cities across the country. It then tested for five common bacteria: Clostridium perfringens, E. coli (including O157 and six other strains that produce dangerous poisons), Enterococcus, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

    The highlights, according to the magazine:

    • All 458 pounds of beef tested contained bacteria that "signified fecal contamination"--that is, Enterococcus or E. coli of the non-toxic kind.
    • Almost 20 percent contained C. perfringens, a bacteria that causes almost 1 million cases of food poisoning annually.
    • Ten percent of the samples had a strain of S. aureus bacteria that can produce a toxin that can make you sick.

    And the take-away lesson, according to the consumer-advocacy publication? Despite its relatively higher cost, beef from cattle that are raised sustainably—that is, beef labeled without antibiotics, organic, or grass-fed—is worth the extra money. Grass-fed beef, according to Consumer Reports, is less likely to harbor "superbugs," or bacteria that are resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics.

    But a closer look at the full report, available here, raises some serious questions about those conclusions:

    Sampling? Collecting, shipping to a lab and sampling 458 pounds of ground beef from across the country is no small task, but Consumer Reports' sample size represents less than a rounding error on the nearly 26 billion pounds of beef U.S. farmers grow each year. As a result, Consumer Reports' conclusions that conventionally raised samples have a higher incidence of contamination than sustainably produced samples does not pass the significance test. The relatively small differences between the rates when placed in context within the the small sample size means Consumer Reports reported no statistical significance between samples for any of the germs tested. "We did not design the study to make statistical comparisons at this level," a spokesman for Consumer Reports told Farmer Goes to Market. In layman's terms, that means if you repeated the very same tests tomorrow, using similar samples from the same outlets with the same techniques, you'd be just as likely to find the results reversed. Other, better designed experiments have found precisely that result: no benefit from organic or antibiotic-free in protecting against either contamination or antibiotic resistance.

    Fecal contamination? Headlines notwithstanding, what Consumer Reports' contract lab tested for and found was not fecal contamination, but bacteria that are typically used as "signal organisms" for fecal contamination. E.coli and Enterococcus are often used as an indirect indicator that something may have been contaminated by feces, particularly in environmental testing. But that's not the same as finding feces. Both E. coli and Enterococcus are so pervasive in the environment that, even though they may be common inhabitants of the intestine, they are also generally everywhere else, and thus don't indicate the actual presence of feces.

    Contamination--everywhere? Some media got the results closer to the unfortunate reality when they reported "your ground beef is probably contaminated by bacteria." Granted, it may be a difficult conversation to have with germophobic shoppers, but it points out an important reality: The world is not sterile. Because Consumer Reports used sensitive genetic tests that look for and flag only the presence of the genetic material indicating presence of specific bacteria--without saying anything about the amount of those bacteria that are present--you shouldn't be surprised many of the tests popped up positive, in both sets of samples. Bacteria are everywhere in quantities ranging from minute to massive, particularly the Enterococcus species, including not only meat--conventional or "sustainable"--but produce, your shopping carts, the drink dispenser in your deli, the handles on your shopping baskets, elevator buttons, food slicers, carrying trays, belt transporters, food display areascell phones and your hands.

    "Superbugs," really? Consumer Reports did find a "marginally significant" difference between samples from conventional ground beef vs. sustainable ground beef when it tested those bacteria to see if they could resist typical antibiotics. They found 18 percent of the beef samples from conventionally raised beef contained bacteria that resisted at least three antibiotics, while only 9 percent of the sustainable samples did likewise. But to leap from that finding to announcing any ground beef contains "dangerous superbugs" is inaccurate, at best. Under any acceptable definition in the medical community, a bacterial species is considered a superbug only if few or no antibiotics remain that can successfully treat them. In this case, that's not true, particularly when looking at Enterococcus, a bacteria that simply doesn't cause foodborne disease. It reflects a common confusion about antibiotic resistance in food and farm animals. You can't talk about antibiotic resistance as a general problem; the only meaningful discussion looks at the resistance of a specific bacteria against a specific antibiotic. Consumer Report's own tests showed nine in 10 of the resistant samples were resistant to only one to three drugs, or weren't resistant at all.

    Preconceived outcome? The ground-beef research was conducted by the publication’s advocacy arm, the Consumers Union, and it was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, no stranger itself to criticism that it shapes research questions in the food and farm arena to fit a particular policy agenda. The research report takes up just four pages inside a 54-page document criticizing a wide range of issues surrounding the U.S. beef production system, from animal welfare to environmental complaints.

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  • Navigating the New Food Movement: Four reasons the ancient love affair with meat survives

    Why the ancient love affair with meat continues today

    The Huffington Post this week features a long ode to Netflix-streamed Japanese anime spotlighting the emotional challenges of eating animals. New York food and pop-culture authority Fabio Parasecoli hopes his tender biography of Hachiken, the lonely meat-ambivalent hero of the Silver Spoon series, will lead more "young urbanites" to reflect on the source of their meat.

    Today's social climate finds many of your meatcase shoppers--even in meat-loving Nebraska--similarly confronted by what one social scientist calls the “meat paradox:" Even as they enjoy this staple of your business as a staple of their diet, the constant criticism of farm-animal production surrounding them may leave them morally conflicted by the thought of using animals for food. Meat eating is still the norm in the United States, even though many people consider vegetarianism to be morally admirable – even meat eaters themselves, according to some research.

    How can consumers hold such opposing attitudes, often happily? Here are the four general reasons that always bring shoppers back to meat, guilt-free and ready to buy, according to research:

    1. It's natural. Social psychologist Melanie Joy, author of Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows, first introduced the concept of the "the three Ns" for resolving the conflict in meating-eating in 2010. The first of those appeals to man's natural craving for meat. Socialization teaches consumers that meat-eating is in our biology, that the craving is natural and that man evolved to eat meat and that, by extension, eating an all plant-based diet is inherently unnatural.

    2. It's necessary. Meat-eating is needed for survival or, at least, to maintain full strength and vibrance for healthy individuals. The necessity argument is reinforced by the belief that humans can't eat enough high-quality protein or get sufficient vitamins and minerals from a strict plant-based diet.

    3. It's normal. Strident veganism aside, most of our shared social channels, from family members to churches to media and organizations reinforce the widespread belief that eating meat is what most people in civilized society do and what most people have come to expect. The flipside of this reinforcing belief is that it's still the abnormality to not eat meat.

    Reasons for eating meat4. It's enticing. Beyond Joy's three Ns, British moral psychologist Jared Piazza adds an important and often under-appreciated last N to the list in his recent article in the journal Appetite: "Nice." Meat is enticing because it uniquely satisfies omnivore cravings. He believes the enticing aspect of meat eating has largely been ignored by theorists because it's a weak moral defense. However several lines of evidence suggest the simple enjoyment people get from eating meat is a major barrier to reducing meat consumption or encouraging them to adopt vegetarianism. He and his research colleagues conducted a series of six studies that demonstrated it's an important element in justifying people's meat eating.

    Both Piazza and Joy, a vegan and animal-rights activist and speaker, position the four Ns as a moral defense mechanism that supports denial of underlying guilt. However, the justifications also function as reinforcement to encourage your conscious shoppers' choice to eat meat, and the four-N scale serves as a thrifty and efficient method of categorizing them that fits generally.

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  • Foresight on Food Politics: Capitalizing on the school lunch controversy

    Twitter lunch revolt

    As more than 300,000 Nebraska kids head back to public school, their congressmen have also returned to Washington just in time to hear Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lobbying them to quickly reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act set to expire this month.

    Nebraska National Public Radio reports evidence suggests the 5-year old act, very visibly championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, has helped make the meals school cafeterias serve healthier by increasing standards for vegetables and whole grains while limiting salt and fat. A Centers for Disease Control analysis, for instance, identifies a significant increase in the number of schools serving at least two vegetables and whole grain foods daily.

    On the downside, studies still show kids are wasting the food rather than eating it. Thousands of kids across the nation continue to post photos and comments to Twitter under the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama to blame the first lady's pet program for skimpy, wasted and inedible school lunches. And now, according to the NPR report, another unintended consequence is that fewer students are buying lunch. A GAO report from last year showed as many as 1.6 million fewer students eating school lunch at the full price.

    "As school cafeterias have cut back on salt, limited their selections of a la carte snacks, and mandated more fruits and vegetables, some school food administrators say it's tougher to keep paying students in the lunch line," NPR says. A recent survey by the School Nutrition Association found that 58 percent of the responding school districts reported a decline in participation in their lunch programs.  

    Does the school lunch revolt mean new opportunity for the grocer? It can, if you adapt some creative merchandising of the old sandwich/chips/apple routine:

    Empower the kids. Guided shopping advice can make an impact on the factor recognized as the No. 1 most important point in getting children to eat healthy, whether at home or at school: Making them feel like they are making the choice for themselves. Help parents offer choices between, say, sandwich types or fruit options, which will help involve the child in the decision, leaving them more likely to eat the offering they find in their lunchbox. Encourage shoppers to take kids along when grocery shopping and let them pick one new fruit or vegetable to try. Sometimes parents need permission to come to the conclusion its not an all-or-nothing proposition: Enticing a child to eat half a healthy lunch because they were involved in the decision is twice as good as having them discard the entire thing. "Don’t get discouraged if your child rejects a food on first taste," advises Dodge County's University of Nebraska Associate Extension Educator for Family and Youth Lisa Poppe. "It can take 15 to 20 tries before a child gets used to a new food."

    Other ideas to make the brown-bag lunch more fun, according to Poppe:

    • Get a couple of cookie cutters and have kids cut sandwiches into different shapes.
    • Think beyond bread: whole-grain bagels, whole-grain pita wraps and whole-wheat tortillas. A good alternative is a whole-wheat pita pocket with hummus, shredded vegetables and grilled chicken strips.
    • Pack a variety of options to keep a child’s interest. Beat boredom by avoiding packing the same lunch every day.
    • Vary the preparation: Grilled or baked, chopped or grated, plain or with a dip.

    Expand it beyond lunch. Empowering children to make their own healthy lunch choices should be part of a wider effort to get them into the kitchen. "Practice good nutrition yourself," Poppe writes. "Children learn by association — you need to be a role model. Discuss with them the benefits of healthy eating." Participation begets acceptance. Parents who start the healthy lunch decision in your aisles and move it to preparing and packaging better nutrition will experience success in moving toward healthful eating--at all meals.

    Creatively offer staples. Whole-grain pockets, wraps, pasta or bread cross-merchandised with simple nut butters, cream cheese, fruit jams, cheeses or low-fat meats can still entice kids, if offered creatively. Promote fruits and vegetables that are in season and suggest creative serving ideas. Examples include baby carrots with yogurt dip or other cut vegetables with low-fat dip or hummus. And it's OK to promote small treats that also pack some nutrition: Think healthy muffins or low-fat peanut-butter treats, for instance. Even traditional sweets can help boost lunch consumption if you counsel parents to include only a small portion. Even if junior eats the two cookies first, he's likely to still be hungry enough to be tempted into the (more healthy) remainder packed alongside. Healthy budgeting of sweets throughout the day and week can be one of the most important aspects of overall healthier eating, an aspect the grocer can play an important part in promoting.

    Help parents plan. The fastest way to unhealthy lunch is to throw it together as kids are going out the door in the morning. Promote healthy lunch alternative planning as another part of meal planning that begins in your store.

    Make lunch your event. Don't fight forces; use them. Look for opportunities to partner with local schools and nutritional advisors to send a co-branded message that healthy choices matter--in the school and in the home--and that you're there to play your rightful role. Connect healthy lunch-related events you may not be involved in with in-store promotion and creative shelf-tagging.

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  • Competitive Commodity Insights: Where have the beef supplies gone, and when will they return?

    Oh where, oh where has the cattle herd gone?

    Two recent USDA reports illustrate the good news/bad news aspect of current U.S. beef cattle markets. The survey data confirm the good news that American cattle farmers are actively expanding the beef-cattle herd, which will eventually lead to greater beef supplies and more moderate prices as a result. The bad news: That rebuilding process is going to be long and slow, at least to start.

    Supplies are still tight. USDA's July Cattle report contained USDA’s first estimate of the 2015 calf crop and it came in 1.2 percent higher than that of 2014, at 34.3 million head. If the estimate is true, 2015 will be the first year the calf crop has grown by 1 percent or more in more than two decades, according to Iowa State ag economists Chad Hart and Lee Schulz. Young female cattle now make up 16.1 percent of the total U.S. cow herd--another 20-year high mark--which means cattle ranchers are now holding females off the market at a rate consistent with levels during the large expansionary phase of the early 1990s, diverting them into producing more calves down the road, but temporarily cutting into the beef supply as they do so.

    Heifers are being held to spur expansion

    We have a long way to go to recover from the lost numbers brought on by continued drought during the last decade. The number of "feeder calves," those ready to go onto the final phase of feeding before being marketed as beef, are still tight. Feeder cattle supplies have been within the range of 34.87 and 35.50 million for the past four years, and that 35.25 million average of those four years still falls 8.4 percent lower than the average for 2004 through 2010—the last years in which we saw what they consider an overall increase in feeder cattle supplies.

    Feeder cattle supplies are still tight

    Much of that year-over-year increase in feeder cattle supplies is being fed by a relatively larger increase in the number of light calves, those under 500 pounds. What that statistic means is that even though the overall supply of calves available to put on feed is increasing, the majority of those are those light calves, which won't be big enough to go into feedlots until late in the year and into next year. So don't expect any significant impact on beef supplies to appear until 2016. Beef cattle inventories are increasing right now, but the supply of beef will actually fall another 1 percent or 2 percent in 2015 following the 5.7 percent year over year decrease in 2014. That adds up to sustained high wholesale prices for the near future.

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  • Meet your Farmers: Veterinarian, professor, senator, farmer

    Drawn to livestock production while a youth on his family farm, John Keuhn studied veterinary medicine, practiced medicine in Hastings and taught biology at Hastings College before moving his veterinary practice to his red Angus cattle and quarter horse farm in Heartwell. A stint on his local public power board introduced him to public office, which led him to the Nebraska legislature, where he focuses on righting the disparities between rural and urban representation.



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  • On the Lighter Side: Now this is some creative signage

    Great restaurant chalk boards

    When it comes to good promotional writing, there's sometimes a delicately fine line between spurring customers into action and openly insulting them. Click here to see some restaurant chalk signs that have left that line far, far behind.

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Translating Food Technology: Why Would Pig Farmers Insist on Using 'Gestation Crates?'

Why do pig farmers use gestation crates?The last 45 days have seen a line of announcements by food retailers and quick-service restaurant chains that they would soon begin to deman their pork suppliers phase out the use of "gestation crates," individual stalls in which pregnant and newly delivered sows are housed. Spurred by criticism from animal rights groups that the practice is cruel, Smithfield Foods, the country's largest pork farm, first announced in 2007 it would gradually abandon the practice over a 10-year period. Animal-rights groups have lobbied heavily against the practice, often successfully. Ballot initiatives banning sow stalls have passed in many states, and threat of action has led to voluntary agreements to cease their use in other states and Canada. Although Smithfield had earlier backed off on its promise because it was facing financial hardship, Smithfield President and CEO Larry Pope said the company’s hog operations had converted housing for 30 percent of its sow herd and was now back on track to meet the 2017 goal.

Since March, Wendy's, Burger King, Safeway, Sonic, Denny's, McDonalds, Cracker Barrel and Kroger have all released statements in conjunction with the Washington-based animal-rights group Humane Society of the United States announcing they plan to pressure pork suppliers to abandon the practice.

“Kroger believes that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and that the pork industry should work toward gestation crate-free housing,” said that company in a press release co-authored in early June with HSUS.

“Kroger’s has taken a very important step for animal welfare in declaring that the pork industry must find an exit strategy for its use of gestation crates,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of  HSUS.

Faced with the continual barrage of negative media fanned by HSUS and other animal-rights advocates, grocers and their customers may rightly ask, if so many people believe the practice of crating pigs is inhumane, why do most farmers still use them?

1. It makes indoor housing practical. First, many critics are correct when they say sow stalls are a result of the indoor housing pig farmers evolved toward in the 1970s and 1980s. However, their criticism doesn’t necessarily mean indoor housing is a bad thing—most farmers moved their pigs indoors because they believed it benefited the animals, as well as the caretakers. Indoor housing made sense because it protected both animals and farmers from weather, predators, parasites, and also because it made animal performance both better and more predictable (Pigs left outdoors typically use about a quarter of the feed they eat just to keep warm in winter, for example.)

Once farmers moved pregnant sows indoors, though, they found the traditional group housing for pregnant sows that sufficed in mud barnyards didn’t work well indoors. So they turned to individual housing as the practical solution.

2. It protects individuals from the animal's natural aggression. Why didn't that group housing work for sows housed indoors? Like people who push and crowd to get on a bus where only a few seats are empty, yet will be relaxed and courteous when they know seats are available, sows will fight, wound, and even kill one another when they think their access to feed is at risk. When farmers move 350- to 550-pound bred sows--which are only normally fed a set amount of feed once daily to control their weight--into indoor group pens, sows begin to anticipate the feed delivery, understand there will only be a set amount to go around, and begin to fight for the lion’s share of it. As a result, weaker sows will be injured, as well as be starved of their allotted feed portion. At the same time, the "boss" sows will eat too much, making them overly fat, which will eventually harm their ability to give birth to and feed a healthy set of baby pigs.

By instead training sows to eat in individual stalls before putting them into groups, farmers are in effect training them that fighting doesn’t earn them any additional feed. Each individual is ensured the correct amount of feed and the ability to eat it in peace and safety.

3. It improves the farmer's ability to manage individual animals. It would be disingenuous not to recognize that individually confining animals does also improve the farmer’s ability to manage them, by making it easier and quicker to give them medications, check their condition, and perform other tasks. However, the additional expense of crating sows (it is more expensive to build individual crates than group-housing pens) likely couldn’t justify those management concerns; the predominant reason is to prevent group fighting. Stalling is a trade-off between full mobility and reassurance of feed.

It works, but is it right?

So the question becomes, is it right or wrong to force these trade-offs on an animal? The late Dr. Stan Curtis, who spent his career at University of Illinois studying questions of how animals think and the effect of modern envorinments on them, believed it was. Before his death last year, Curtis was vocally critical of today’s animal behaviorists who conclude that assessing an animal’s well-being based on the animal’s “feelings” was a valid method of assessing the cruelty of practices like gestation crates.

“As long as we can’t yet measure how a pig feels, let alone measure the depth of any such feeling—which everyone agrees we can’t do—we can only speculate, surmise, analogize and anthropomorphize,” Curtis said. In other words, according to Curtis, what humans feel when they see a sow in a crate speaks only to how that human would feel were that human confined in a crate. It says nothing about how the sow feels. Farming decisions can’t be based on those human feelings. “What we cannot do is know, set thresholds, define limits or draw lines. How then is it reasonable to expect producers to manage pigs on that basis?”

To Curtis and those who follow his thinking, the only accurate measure we have of whether the animal is suffering in a crate is what he called the “Performance Axiom:” The best single set of measurable—and manageable—indicators of an animal’s state of being will be how well it produces and reproduces compared to its predicted potential. “When bodily resources become limited because a pig is in a situation requiring extraordinary adaptation, productive processes will be the first to decrease. We can measure that. Reproductive functions will be next. We can measure that. Maintenance processes, which ensure survival, last. These observed reductions in measurable performance traits are the earliest, most sensitive indicators that a pig’s well-being has been disturbed—much more sensitive than behavioral patterns that may indirectly signify some emotional reaction,” he said.

And the research shows that although both group housing and individual crating have advantages and disadvantages, sows peform as well or better in crates than they do in stalls, as long as both systems are managed well. Paul Sundberg, a veterinarian and vice-president of science and research for the National Pork Board, summed it up well in a Washington Post article. “The key to sow welfare isn't whether they are kept in individual crates or group housing,” he said, “but whether the system used is well managed. "[S]cience tells us that [a sow] doesn't even seem to know that she can't turn ... She wants to eat and feel safe, and she can do that very well in individual stalls."

What do you think about the issue? Leave a comment and get some discussion started with your fellow grocers.


-1 #22 I. M. Carnivore 2015-07-26 02:53
I just ate a pork chop. Yummy. And i grew up on a farm and we put pigs in crates. Of course they can lie down in there. But lose sows often lie on their piglets, crushing or sufficating them. A nasty way to die. The sow is only in there unti the piglets are weaned. We used to raise em in fields. They would be sick and eat other sows babies and fight and injure each other and in a bad winter freeze to death once in a while. So we felt like we were treating them much better when we got em inside. We liked our pigs and treated em well. But one thing we couldnt abide was to watch someone cut a head of lettuce of at the neck, chop it up and eat it raw. Now that is cruel!
+1 #21 Max 2015-04-01 23:08
No, dismissing animal feelings because we "do not know" is unjust. But just for the record, surmounting evidence illustrates that animals have feelings. Our instincts allow us to feel sorry for animals when we see that pain is inflicted upon them. Precautions must be made if we are unsure.

Aggression can be easily managed in small group housing. Isolation is cruel. Extreme confinement is cruel. You cannot justify forcing an animal into a space in which he/she is unable to turn around or walk forward or backward.

That is agony for any animal that is even slightly sentient. And pigs are very intelligent.

"Farming decisions can’t be based on those human feelings. “What we cannot do is know... or draw lines. How then is it reasonable to expect producers to manage pigs on that basis?” It is quite reasonable to expect producers to manage pigs as beings with feelings.
-1 #20 Justin 2015-03-10 05:21
>>The fact that the sows bite the crates shows they are in deep distress

You are correct. The fact that they are biting the crates does show distress. However, it is not mental distress, it is dietary distress. Biting metal bars is a common habit among pigs who are deficient in key nutrients. In their mind, they think they can make up for that deficiency by getting minerals, such as iron which they can taste, out of the metal. Any knowledgeable farmer knows that that habit is a sign of a nutritional deficiency. So by properly managing the diet of the sows, the action of biting the crates can be eliminated.
-7 #19 Larry Elias 2015-01-23 16:37
Thanks for your insightful and educational articles. Farmers and producers who make a career out of working with animals have a much better understanding of the animals than those who think of animals as "morally significant individuals with rights."
+2 #18 Jessica Howe 2015-01-21 00:00
The fact that the sows bite the crates shows they are in deep distress
+1 #17 Nancy Poznak 2015-01-13 18:10
The problem starts with making an animal a commodity; it's worth is reduced to its' financial worth. The entire system of animal agriculture is based upon making animals into commodities. The moment and animal becomes a commodity it loses its freedom and is ultimately put into harm's way. Methods of raising pigs which allow them some freedom of movement do exist, and can be cost-effective. However, atrocities are still committed against pigs (an all commercial animals): castration, tail docking, ear punctures - all with no pain relief. Piglets not performing well are brutally killed. How do you get a pig out of the gestation crate when sending to slaughter? Do you tickle her belly? Do you gently find ways to hoist her up because she cannot walk after being imprisoned for months, or years? For those who consider it "normal and acceptable' to kill animals for food, would YOU be able to slit the animal's throat, watch the blood and life leave their body, look into its eyes and still feel this process 'normal and acceptable'?
0 #16 Jean 2015-01-08 18:09
my parents in law fed pigs in their village many years ago. It's not a big room, but definitely they can turn and walk for a few steps. Look at the environment now, to make more money, what did people do to pig, chickens,cows. A lot of people talked about food safety, but the root of all the the problem is human's moral standard dropped so quickly in this few decades, it's not only the problems of the farmer. That is the issue of the whole world I believe. eve rybody need to improve yourself from the inner, that the way to change the world.
+2 #15 M. Graham 2014-12-25 13:28
Gestation crates are unbelievably inhumane. Imagine yourself living in a crate so small that you cannot even turn around, and being continually impregnated. Pigs are incredibly smart and sensitive animals. These are LIVING BEINGS we are talking about here. This is about nothing but profit. Period. Factory "farm" pig "farmers" can spin all the narratives they want to try to excuse this abomination against creation, but the bottom line is that this treatment of God's creatures is nothing but evil. And for those of you who support this abomination against innocent creatures, and believe in God, you're really kidding yourselves if you think you are not going to pay for this. If Americans had even the smallest bit of a conscience, they would simply boycott the entire industry. But we are a nation of people so bereft of any moral compass, and so sold to the god of profit, that we will lie ourselves into the inferno rather than face the truth of our own complicity in this inconceivable violence against living beings, whose cries in the vacuum of our collective deafness go unheard.
0 #14 Nancy S Poznak 2014-12-03 03:04
The intelligence of pigs is well-documented by scientists who study them. They are now known to be among the top four most intelligent nonhuman species. Read this article: http://modernfarmer.com/2014/03/pigheaded-smart-swine/ - not that you need to as you are most likely aware of how smart they are. I have seen many pictures and videos of sows in gestation crates. They obviously suffer. One does not have to be a veterinarian or farmer to see this. Only an idiot would deny the fact they suffer. The reason sows' aggression becomes a problem is because they have been placed into a completely unnatural environment. Pig farming must change and become far more kind to the pigs if it wants to stay in business.
+2 #13 Lemony Crickets 2014-11-21 00:00
Ah yes, how can any of us fools know better than a farmer about how to raise his animals for breeding or slaughter. We should have no say whatsoever and farmers should be able to do whatever they want with their livestock. I notice that there are no pictures or videos of pigs in these crates. I have seen video of these things and my common sense tells me that they are inhumane. The pig cannot lay down or turn around, and it cannot tell you just how bad it is. This goes on for most of the gestation period. All you need to do is look at video of pigs in these things and unless you have no sense of decency it becomes clear just how awful it is.

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