Canada has taken a step in the kinder direction for pigs this week: they’ve banned the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows.
The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs declares that any pork facility being built or renovated after July 1, 2014, must use group housing systems for pregnant sows. This is a much more humane alternative to gestation crates, which immobilizes pigs in an area so confined that they cannot turn around or take a step forward or backward.
“This is a watershed moment for farm animals in Canada and throughout North America,” said Sayara Thurston, campaign manager with Humane Society International. “It signals the beginning of the end of archaic, extreme confinement systems that consumers simply don’t support and which other countries have long-since banned. There is still much advancement needed to improve the welfare of pigs raised on Canadian farms, but this Code of Practice is a monumental first step.”
Hopefully this nationwide ban in Canada will inspire a wider spread change in the United States, where only 9 states ban the use of gestation crates.
While the use of gestation crates is only the tip of the iceberg concerning the welfare of animals raised for food, eliminating their use is a sign of progress. The best way to be sure that no animals are harmed in the making of your food is to reduce the amount of meat, dairy, and eggs that you consume.
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