The true story behind your bacon
Much of New Zealand’s pork industry is based around intensive, indoor factory farms.Thousands of pigs are confined in sow stalls, farrowing crates, or boar stalls. The caged pigs cannot express their natural instincts, leading to psychologically disturbed behaviour and physical health problems.
20,000 pregnant sows live in sow stalls, which are bare narrow cages, around 0.6 metres wide and 2 metres long. Sows confined in stalls do not even have enough room to turn around. Living in such a barren environment leads to boredom, aggression, weak bones and muscles, and urinary tract infections. The bored pigs chew in frustration on the metal bars of their cages.
When about to give birth, sows are often moved to farrowing crates. Here they are kept in 0.8 x 2 metre stalls for up to six weeks, until the piglets are weaned. The sows suffer appallingly, unable to build nests for their piglets or mother them properly. Over 60,000 New Zealand sows spend their lives in cramped confinement, either in the sow stall or the farrowing crate.
When the young pigs are born, their eyeteeth are cut, and their tails are docked within three days of birth. They are often dosed with drugs and antibiotics. Although in nature piglets suckle from their mothers for 12 weeks, on factory farms the tiny pigs are separated from their mothers at only 3-5 weeks of age, and moved to crowded pens
with concrete floors. Here they are fattened in groups of 100-200 pigs before slaughter at 5-6 months of age. In nature pigs prefer a separate toilet area, but in factory farms there is no room for this – the piglets sit or lie in their own excrement. Unsurprisingly, pigs on commercial pig farms are usually terrified of humans, showing a chronic stress response.
So there are many good reasons to choose not to eat bacon, or pork. For more information, and to help pigs, you might like to check these sites out.
SAFE’s Freedom for Pigs Campaign
Meat Free Media
New Zealand Vegetarian Society