Recently, the Humane Society of the U.S. released undercover video exposing inhumane conditions at a Smithfield breeding farm where sows are confined in crates in warehouses, unable to move or engage in basic natural behaviors. Across the U.S., more than 5 million female sows are used for breeding, and they live most of their lives in “gestation crates,” 2-foot-wide metal enclosures where the animals are so severely confined that they cannot walk or even turn around. These conditions are so cruel that they are banned across Europe, and they are also now illegal in several U.S. states as well.
In 2007, after Arizona became the second U.S. state to ban gestation crates, Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, publicly announced that they would phase out gestation crates, and they gave themselves a generous 10 year period in which to do so. Then, just two years later in 2009, Smithfield went back on their public announcement and said they didn’t intend to meet their goal of phasing out crates in 10 years.
For more than a decade, Farm Sanctuary has worked to end the use of gestation crates in the U.S. The first law banning gestation crates in America was passed in Florida in 2002. In 2006, Arizona became the second state to ban these cruel devices, and since then, Oregon, Colorado, California, Maine, and Michigan have outlawed gestation crates. There is currently an agreement in place to prohibit these inhumane devices in Ohio as well.
It is unconscionable that animals are treated like mere units of production on factory farms. Like all animals, farm animals have feelings and they deserve to be treated with respect; agribusiness needs to be reminded of that fact. Please contact Smithfield and urge them to make good on their promise to phase out gestation crates. There is no excuse for animal abuse.