Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How farmers really treat their animals

As I often do, I was surfing the net this morning and found myself checking out the news on Twitter.  PETA had posted a link to an article about pigs.  The idea was that if pigs were dogs then we wouldn't eat them.  Fair point. If we had a pet pig, I don't know how quick I'd be to serve it up for Christmas dinner either.  What annoyed me about the article was that they outlined the way (they want people to think) pigs are raised to back up their point.  I didn't know any different so I emailed a friend of mine who is a pig farmer to get the facts.

Here's the statement from PETA: "Pigs raised for food have their tails and testicles cut off without anesthesia, and these naturally clean animals are forced to live in such crowded and filthy conditions that they must be fed massive amounts of antibiotics just to survive. Mother pigs are continuously impregnated and confined to crates in which they cannot even turn around or nuzzle their piglets. At slaughter, pigs have their throats cut and are dumped into a tank of scalding-hot water to remove their hair, sometimes while they are still conscious and able to feel pain."

My friend was good enough to email me back with this statement:

*Most male pigs are not castrated these days, those that are are made sterile by giving them an injection.This eliminates any chance of an infection.

*There is an approved stocking density that must be adhered to, audits are done on piggeries to check on matters such as these. Most piggeries have plastic slatted floors where any waste matter slips through the slats into a drain and flushed away. These pigs always look lovely and clean. Shed temperatures are also monitored and when they get hot evaporative air conditioners are automatically started. Other types of pig housing are called eco shelters. These are big open barn type structures with sawdust  or straw (deep litter) flooring which allows  the pigs to move around freely and root around in the deep litter
*Pigs are not fed "massive amounts of antibiotics" as this would put your cost of production through the roof and make your business unviable. Procedures are put into place to eliminate the use of such drugs.

*It is illegal to keep sows in single pens. All sows must be group housed giving them space to socialise and move about.

*When being slaughtered pigs are exposed to a gas which basically puts them to sleep. Then they are bled, at this stage the animal is dead. They are then placed into hot water which allows for the easy removal of their hair.

*As I mention  above audits are regularly carried out on piggeries. These check on things such as:animal health, medication and chemical use, stocking density, maintenance and repairs, feed and water quality, staff training and competency, vermin control and husbandry.

*Don't forget that there are also organically grown pigs and free range pigs. Basically there is a pig for everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So people, my thoughts are these.  If PETA are really the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, then their job is done and pigs are treated ethically.  I could be happy joining a group that made these regulations possible.  But I distrust a group who use blatant lies to get into the hearts of people to turn them against raising animals at all.  If that is their agenda then they should not hide behind the word Ethical and advertise what it is they are really about: People for the Eradication of Tame Animals.  There would still be plenty of people to support their cause.  I have Vegan friends who don't eat meat purely because they dislike the idea of killing animals.  And I can respect that.  I hope that they can respect that I disagree.  PETA apparently do not, and will do whatever they can to undermine our meat producing industries.

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