Pigs are some of the most abused animals in American agribusiness. One of the biggest problems in pork farming is the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows. Gestation crates keep sows confined their whole lives so they are immobile, causing them to developa myriad of physical problems in their muscles, bones and joints. They live directly above the excrement pit so they are exposed to dangerous levels of ammonia and develop further medical problems and often die. Pigs are incredibly intelligent, social animals that need a lot of exercise and normal social interaction with members of their species. Studies have shown they are capable of learning complex tasks, perceiving time, and anticipating future events. The psychological effects of gestation crates are horrific. The animals quite literally go insane, exhibiting stereotypic behavior, or movements or behaviors that are abnormal, repetitive, and seemingly have no function or goal as a result of psychological disturbance, frustration and impaired welfare. The Humane Society of the United States exposed Smithfield, the largest pork producer in the world, for its inhumane treatment of animals and use of gestation crates. After the exposé, Smithfield said they would get rid of gestation crates by 2017 but then, in 2011, they said they would not be able to do so. Most American farms have already gotten rid of gestation crates and many are in the process of getting rid of them. Smithfield, being the largest one, needs to join this movement and since they have failed to do it themselves, we must create a law forcing them to do so.
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