Check out this 6/06/12 article from the “Newsroom” of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC):

Survey Shows Few Sows in Open Housing.”

NPPC is the “global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers.”

Survey says…

  • 82.7% of sows spend some time in gestation stalls.
  • 17.3% of sows spend a portion of gestation in open pens.

The survey included pork operations of 1000 or more sows.  Responses were received from 70 operations, equaling 3.6 million of the nation’s 5.7 million sows.

Here is the breakdown– by size of operation– of the percentage of sows who live in “open” pens for some portion of gestation:

  • 20.2% – operations with 1,000-9,999 sows.
  • 18.9% – operations with 10,000-99,999 sows.
  • 16.4% – operations with >100,000 sows.

It seems that the NPPC is “concerned” about “recent pronouncements by food companies that they will use only pork from operations that are gestation-stall free.”

Here are the words from NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C.:

“Today’s survey shows that these food companies obviously haven’t thought through the complexities, logistics or implications of their requests.  Simply making an announcement without understanding the entire supply chain’s ability to meet these requests or the challenges involved is utterly befuddling.

“Given that few sows always are in open housing and that producers may use both individual and group housing, it would be extremely difficult and costly for the pork supply chain to sort, segregate and trace product to meet the requirements of these food companies.”

“Regardless, this issue is about giving animals the best care possible, and hog farmers like me know through years of experience that individual housing provides that best care.”


Dear Mr. Hunt,

Indeed, I do share your concern about food companies “only” using pork from operations that are gestation-stall free.  I feel your pain.

No, I feel the pigs’ pain.  My concern is with food companies using pork from any animal killing operation.

So you want to discuss complexities, logistics, implications and challenges, Mr. Hunt?  Fine…

  1. It is complex for an intelligent animal to understand why she is confined with 1000s of other animals, whether in “individual” or “group” housing.
  2. It is a logistical problem for a pig to implement his own escape from entrapment.
  3. Pigs do understand the implication of pain being inflicted upon them.
  4. It is challenging for a pig to live when her blood drains out of her neck.

Yes, I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how cutting up young pigs can be the end result of giving them the best care possible.  I’m utterly befuddled.

So you want to discuss costs?

Pork is infinitely costly to each and every individual pig who is killed unnecessarily.  (Pigs are 100% unnecessary in the human diet.)

Yes, Mr. Hunt-  the costs are way too high.  Why don’t you treat this time of increasing pressure as a time of opportunity?  This is the perfect time for you and other producers to get out of the pig exploitation industry.

Help meet the demand for healthy, organic, non-GMO vegan foods:  fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts/seeds and whole grains.

In your own words:  Regardless, this issue is about giving animals the best care possible.

Animal killing cannot coexist with animal care.  Sentient beings deserve moral consideration.  Animals have their own interests.  We need to stop exploiting the lives of others.


(The image is a screenshot of this HSUS video.  For another related blog post, see Animal Care Experts.)