Corporate hog factories are rapidly replacing traditional hog farms.
Annually 100 million pigs are raised & slaughtered in the U.S. Baby pigs
endure painful mutilations of having their tails cut off to minimize tail
biting. Tail biting occurs when these intelligent animals are confined
throughout their lives in Factory Farms. Notches are cut from the piglets'
ears, an equally painful procedure, for identification purposes.
15% of the piglets die before three weeks of age. The survivors are taken
away from their mothers & crowded into pens with metal bars & concrete
floors & live this way until they reach a slaughter weight of 250 pounds
at 6 months old.
Respiratory disease is rampant among pigs, which is caused by the noxious
gases in the air produced as the animals' urine & feces build up inside
Modern breeding sows live a continuous cycle of impregnation & birth, each
sow giving birth to more than 20 piglets per year. The pregnant sows are
confined in gestation crates, small metal pens just two feet wide...so small
that sows cannot turn around or even lie down comfortably. After four month
pregnancies they are transferred to cramped farrowing crates to give birth.
They can barely stand up or lie down & have no bedding, which cause many
to develop sores on their shoulders & knees from the constant contact with
the concrete floors. Sows nurse their young for two to three weeks, then the
piglets are taken away, & the sows are re-impregnated. The sow is sent to
slaughter when she can no longer produce.
Sows & pigs also endure suffering from extreme crowding during
transportation. Each year, this over crowding results in an estimated
80,000 pig deaths before arriving at the slaugherhouse.
The federal Humane Slaughter Act requires that pigs be 'stunned' &
rendered unconscious prior to slaughter. However, stunning is often
imprecise & these conscious animals, hanging upside down by their back
legs, are kicking & struggling. The next stop is for a worker to 'stick'
them in the neck with a knife to bleed the pig to death. If the worker is
unsuccessful, the pig will be carried to the next station on the
slaughterhouse assembly line, & dropped into the scalding tank, where
he/she will be boiled to death, while fully conscious.
Sows in confinement are reported to suffer severe physical & psychological
damage. They suffer from obesity & crippling leg disorders & experience
neurotic coping behaviors such as repetitive bar biting & sham chewing
In 2003, Tyson Foods slaughtered an average of 344,000 pigs every
week, or nearly 18 million pigs for the year at 8 company-owned
slaughterhouses. For the same year, the company slaughtered an average of
198,000 cows every week, or about 10.3 million cows total at 15 slaughter
facilities. Tyson Foods' & and pig slaughter operations were both the
result of its acquisition of IBP in 2001.
Read "The Hidden Lives of Pigs." - They are
intelligent, friendly, social
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