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Gestation Crates

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by

Courtney McDonald

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Gestation Crates

Gestation Crates

Gestation Crates
Today we will discuss:
The pros and cons of gestation crates.
Alternative solutions to the crates.
Why this issue is so important?
Why this issue is being talked about now?
Introduction
Gestation crates are a form of housing pregnant sows so that they can stay safe from each other and conserve space.

Recently McDonald's was found to have been using and purchasing pork products from companies that use gestation crates, causing animal activists to create a stir over news media.
Pros
· Changing facilities will increase pork costs because farmers would have to pay for renovations of their facilities.
· Ballot initiatives are costly and advertisements for voters also cost lots of money.
· Changing the laws may end up moving pig production overseas, hurting American agriculture.
· Some farmers will be unable to comply with the new laws due to renovation costs and pork prices will go up as a result of fewer producers.
· Sows can be dangerous not just to each other, but farmers as well.
· Sows housed together can form hierarchies and won’t stop fighting until separated or one dies.
· Farrowing crates can prevent mothers from laying on their babies and squishing them.
· Pork Quality Assurance® program provides programs and certifications as well as educational materials in virtually every area of pig farming to ensure proper animal care.
Cons
• Pigs will bite the bars of the crates until their mouths bleed.
• Pigs can get bedsores from laying in the crates for hours a day.
• Social interaction is limited to vocal interaction.
• Lameness can occur.

Alternative Solutions
•There is a European style of housing that allows pigs to walk into an area that allows them to move around and get exercise while still staying separated from other animals. This style of housing may take up more space in the barn, but prevents pigs from getting some of the negative side effects that results from confined spaces over their lifetime. Some of the opposition will still remain as, depending on the farmer or producer’s housing set up, sows still may not be able to physically interact with each other and they will still be confined to a small area. The European style housing will still retain the benefits of higher pregnancy rates from reduced stress and injury from fights, lower rates of stress related death in animals, fewer injuries and scrapes and better attention and nutrition.

Argument For Moving Away From Gestation Crates
• Group housing systems would only cost the consumer 1.7% more.
• Consumer preference highly leans toward anything but gestation crates.
• Only 18% of Americans think gestation crates are humane.
• Some piglets who are born pre-maturely fall through the slats into the manure pits where they die.
• If large companies purchase from smaller, humane family farms they will be supporting American agriculture.
• Inactivity due to confinement can cause joint problems, muscular weakness in legs and eventually impaired mobility.
• Chronic stress, depression, frustration, aggression and neurotic coping behaviors can result from gestation stalls.

By: Arianna Louviere
Grace Van Allen
Abby Padgett
Courtney McDonald
Full transcript