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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.)

Here are several excerpts from the following SwineCast episode.  In this podcast, Dallas Hockman, National Pork Producer Council V.P. of Industry Relations, discusses McDonald’s announcement of their plan to review the use of gestation stalls in their supply chain.

SwineCast 0692 (7:50)
How HSUS and McDonald’s are Moving to End Gestation Stalls


“It’s really important to get the message to McDonald’s that farmers are care experts.  We have lots of programs in place to assure animal care, liability of our product, the quality of our product.

We want to make sure that this is not a reflection of any type of animal care.  As pointed out in previous work, our message is that animal husbandry is the key factor.  And, where animals are raised in individual housing or group pens is all about the experience of the care that’s put forth in managing…


“…the commitment the pork industry has to assuring animal care.”


McDonald’s:  “one of the largest purchasers of bacon, sausage, ham products in the country.”


“There’s no question we have seen more activity in this area, recently, by the nature of undercover videos…

…we were very pleased that the last video did not demonstrate any abuse or mishandling, or whatever.  It was really an attack on a production model or system that the industry has worked through.

And we were pleased with producers showing good husbandry and practices.  And there are programs in place that assure that animals are being taken care of.”


“As we’ve said all along, the marketplace will determine what it would like to purchase.  Our producers will respond accordingly.”


Mr. Hockman (interesting name, by the way), which video were you talking about?  Show me the good husbandry.

Was it the 2011 HSUS video of Seaboard Foods (3rd largest pork producer) and Prestage Farms (5th largest pork producer)?

“Walmart’s Pork Supplier Exposed” (3:46)

Mr. Hockman, what was your response to this 2011 Mercy for Animals video?

Is the largest pork producer also #1 in animal care?

“Undercover at Smithfield Foods” (3:36)


Here’s the most recent (2012) Mercy for Animals video, taken at Christensen Farms.

“Shocking Video:  Walmart Pork Supplier Caught Abusing Pigs” (4:13)

 These screenshots demonstrate the standard industry practice of “PACing” to kill undesirable piglets.  (PAC = Pound Against Concrete).

Mr. Hockman, is PACing abusive or good husbandry?


Mr Hockman, I have more questions and comments…

  1. How can pork producers– who are in the business of killing the largest number of animals as efficiently and profitably as possible– be described as care experts?
  2. I don’t see evidence of that “commitment” to assuring animal care.  Talk is cheap.  Video footage reveals the lie.
  3. You don’t have to be a real “animal care expert” to know that the “individual housing production model” (i.e. using gestation stalls) is cruel.
  4. Furthermore, killing someone who would choose a real life over unnecessary death– if given the choice– is also cruel.
  5. Now do this, pork producers:  Go take the place of your pigs.  Experience what they go through.  Just before you get killed, tell me how fun that experience was.  Then, tell me that you’re “okay” with being killed (since you’re just another animal and you’re made of meat.)   Be honest!
  6. We do agree on one thing:  the marketplace determines what it would like to purchase.

I’m here to ask the marketplace to demand food that protects animals.  People who are in the business of killing animals are NOT caring for animals.  Exploiting animals and killing them IS abusive and it IS mishandling.

I’m here to ask for vegan foods.  Producers:  will you respond to me?  Will you produce healthy plant foods for me?  It’s unnecessary for me to consume animals to thrive.

Producers:  Please stop killing the animals that you claim to be caring for.
Consumers:  Please stop consuming the products of animal exploitation.
"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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