As a life-long Wisconsin resident and animal lover, I was not happy to hear that one of our state's companies, Johnsonville Sausages, works with factory farms that trap pigs in tiny, cruel gestation crates. Gestation crates are 2' by 7' cages that are used to confine a pregnant sow during her months of gestation, meaning that virtually all of her life will be spent in a box barely larger than her body, unable to even turn around or stretch her legs. Animal science expert Temple Grandin said that this practice is the same as "asking a sow to live in an airline seat."
Pigs are extremely intelligent animals that are just as smart, unique, and curious as the dogs and cats that live with us at home. These social animals are so intelligent that they have even learned to play simple video games! The pigs that Johnsonville keeps in tiny cages, though, suffer from boredom and frustration every day of their lives, and they develop coping mechanisms like biting on their bars and chewing obsessively. These animals will spend nearly their entire lives inside of a cage that is barely larger than their bodies.
Consumers are not happy about gestation crates, and government and industry are starting to respond. Keeping these large, highly intelligent animals in tiny crates is so inhumane that it is already considered criminal animal cruelty in all of the European Union. It is even illegal to use this practice in 9 states in the USA! Voters have had the choice on several occasions, and every time they have voted to ban gestation crates. Additionally, some of the largest companies have already pledged to drop crates: McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Denny's, and dozens more. Even Johnsonville's direct competition and neighbor, Oscar Mayer, has made a pledge to phase out gestation crates.
It's time for Johnsonville to stop lagging behind their competitors and their customers. Help out the pigs by signing this petition, and let Johnsonville know that gestation crates have got to go!
These pigs are unable to even turn around while trapped in these crates that are barely larger than their bodies. There is good reason that voters consistently have voted to outlaw this practice in their state, and that polls show the majority of Americans want to see it banned.
Consumers, animal scientists, food industry professionals, and animal welfare groups are saying one thing, and Johnsonville is doing the exact opposite. Please join your fellow retailers and announce your plan to move away from these confinement systems.