The Life of a Factory Farm Pig
There are 117,126 million pigs slaughtered in the U.S. every year for the pork industry. And there are over 6 million pigs used each year for breeding, which involves a grueling continuous cycle of impregnation and birth in very inhumane conditions and confinement. These inhumane conditions are physically so restrictive and abnormal that sows cannot even move, walk, stand or express any of their natural behaviors. This extreme confinement was developed by the pork industry and pork corporations to increase corporate pork production and profits, while requiring less labor and food for the animals, and to save time and money. But these business practices have a brutal and inhumane cost to the sows and pigs, and cause them immense suffering.
Here’s the life of a factory farm pig today:
- Pigs are cruelly confined in extremely small metal barred cages on cold concrete floors where they cannot move, turn around, walk or exhibit any natural pig behavior, for years.
- 100+ breeding sows are warehoused together in gestation crates side-by-side in rows of often 20 sows per row, lying uncomfortably on concrete floors their entire life, living in unsanitary conditions and filth, breathing ammonia fumes, with no access to sunlight or heat, and are not allowed to express any natural pig behavior like next-building and rooting.
- Pigs are forced to live in unsanitary, filthy conditions, in their own feces, urine, vomit and the corpses of other pigs.
- Breeding sows are considered pure “production units,” forced into a constant cycle of impregnation and birth, producing more than 20 piglets per year.
- During sows pregnancies they are confined in two-foot wide metal gestation crates with no flooring, no ability to move forward, backward or turn around; then after birth sows move to farrowing crates where they are forced to lie on their sides for one month until re-impregnated again, where they move back to gestation crates to repeat the torturing cycle.
- Piglets are subjected to painful mutilations without anesthesia or pain relief – their ears are notched and tails cut off to minimize tail biting due to the stress of factory farm conditions.
- Physical Disorders – Intensive confinement of factory farms causes physical disorders where sows legs become crippled from a lack of walking and physical exercise; they breathe noxious gasses living in their feces and unsanitary conditions; develop respiratory problems breathing urine odors; and they develop multiple diseases through infection in close confinement.
- Physiological Disorders – Intensive confinement causes a multitude of psychological disorders due to their inability to practice natural behaviors such as foraging, nest-building, grazing, rooting, and normal social behaviors, all leading to chronic stress, depression, abnormal and neurotic coping behaviors, and aggression.
- Slaughtering – Pigs are transported in extremely crowded conditions leading to extreme suffering and death during transport. Inside the slaughterhouse, pigs are often still conscious as they are hung up by their back legs upside down to bleed out, and are often not “stunned” correctly since it is done very inaccurately. Pigs are often still conscious during the next step in the process which is the scalding tank where they are literally boiled alive while fully conscious.
Actions you can take:
- Stop buying and eating pork, or significantly reduce your pork consumption.
- Stop buying pork products from factory farms found in grocery stores and supermarkets (almost all pork is from factory farms, there are many brands that sell pork).
- If you do buy pork, buy only from free-range, crate-free pork producers from small local farms that raise pigs humanely and allow them their natural behavior.
- Instead of pork, buy “alternative” non-animal products to replace those from pigs. Many of these alternative products are easily found in your local grocery stores.
- Learn more about factory farms and industrial animal agriculture and why it’s such a significant threat to animal welfare, the environment, natural ecosystems, habitats and wildlife, and human health.
- When you dine out, ask local restaurants to buy pork only from small local farms where pigs are free-range and humanely raised and treated.
- Call your politicians and ask them to get involved and support animal welfare laws, and keep track of their voting record. Here’s some ideas
- Spread the word! Tell others about factory farming. Share on social media and help get the word out!