pigs are confined for six years at a time and “packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually comes out.

On 2012-12-26, at 9:47 AM, "Kate Hendrickson (PETA Foundation)" <KateH@petaf.org> wrote:
Dear Diana,

We share your concern about cruel gestation crates. Nearly 6 million pregnant or nursing pigs in the United States are currently imprisoned in these tiny, filthy, barren enclosures—often for up to six years—which are designed to make it impossible for them to move at all during pregnancy and nursing. Because of the overwhelming proof that pigs suffer greatly from this intense confinement and deprivation, the use of these crates has already been banned in the European Union and in Florida, Arizona, and California.

Most people never see pigs who are raised for food—aside from the occasional glimpses of them as they go by on the transport trucks. This is because 97 percent of pigs in America today spend their entire lives confined on factory farms. While the transport conditions are cruel, they are merely a small part of a hideous existence for these animals.

Piglets are taken from their mothers soon after birth and subjected to heinous mutilations: Their tails are cut off, their teeth are cut down, and males have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums, all without any pain relief. They are then confined to filthy pens in crowded warehouses, and they are under constant stress from the intense confinement. They are denied everything that is natural to them.

Most of these pigs never see the sun or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for the slaughterhouse. To get the terrified pigs onto the trucks, workers beat them on their sensitive noses and backs or stick electric prods in their rectums. Crammed into 18-wheelers, pigs are transported over many miles without food and water through all weather extremes. A former pig transporter told PETA that pigs are “packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually comes out.” Although according to industry reports, more than 100,000 pigs die in transport each year, and more than 400,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse, pigs still have no legal protection during transport to slaughter. Sick and injured animals—or “downer” pigs as the industry calls them—are kicked, struck with electric prods, and dragged off the trucks to their deaths. On the killing floor, the pigs’ throats will be cut open, often while they are still completely conscious and struggling to escape. . . .Many are still alive when they reach the scalding hair-removal water bath where they are scalded to death.

The laws governing the treatment of farmed animals during transportation—and, indeed, throughout their lives—are woefully inadequate. On the federal level, the "Twenty-eight Hour Law of 1877" covers the transport of all animals, including farmed animals. The law states that animals cannot be carried by "rail carrier, express carrier or common carrier" for more than 28 hours without breaks of at least five hours for rest, water and food. The law does not apply to water- and air-based methods of transport, and there are some exemptions for certain species of animals. Beyond that, there is little to govern the conditions of animals in trucks or rail cars, beyond some state statutes.

The plight of these pigs may seem hopeless, but you can help. Write letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines about the cruelty you witnessed—or any time you see an article about the meat industry or local farms. Let everyone know that if they are eating meat, they are supporting cruelty. For information to include in your letters, please visit http://www.PETA.org/issues/Animals-Used-For-Food/default.aspx. For letter-writing tips, see http://www.PETA.org/action/activism-guide/letter-writing.aspx.  Please also encourage people you know to become vegetarian if you are not doing so already; each vegetarian saves more than 100 animals a year, so talking to your friends and family about the issues surrounding the meat industry can make a huge impact.

Thank you again for contacting PETA.  We appreciate your compassion for animals and all that you do to help them. 


Kate Hendrickson
Membership Correspondent
PETA Foundation