As an animal lover, I’m concerned about the cruelty mother pigs endure in the pork industry in Canada. Most of these intelligent, inquisitive animals are confined in tiny cages—known as gestation crates—for virtually their entire lives. These cages are so small, the pigs are unable even to turn around.
But now, new draft standards are being proposed for the pork industry which offer hope! However, while these standards will end the use of permanently confining mother pigs in tiny crates for their entire lives, they will still allow up to five weeks of confinement during every four month pregnancy a sow endures, adding up to almost a quarter of her short life spent in a cage so small that she can’t even turn around. If we abused dogs or cats like this, we’d be arrested for animal cruelty.
In April, the Retail Council of Canada announced that eight of its biggest members – Walmart Canada, Costco Canada, Metro, Loblaw, Safeway Canada, Federated Co-operatives, Sobeys and Co-op Atlantic – were going to move away from gestation crate housing, a huge victory for animals! Tim Hortons—Canada’s largest restaurant chain—also committed to eliminate these crates from its supply chain.
This is the retailers' chance: both the RCC and Tim Hortons are involved in the process of finalizing the industry’s new standards – they have the power to say “no” to this continued confinement. With the draft policy now open for public feedback, this is the retailers' – and the industry’s – chance to end the use of cruel gestation cages once and for all.
I’m respectfully requesting these food industry leaders make it clear that the five week confinement loophole is unacceptable. The practice is out of step with how their consumers feel farm animals ought to be treated: A recent poll found that 84% of Canadians support completely eliminating the use of these cages.
Please help Canada’s pigs by signing this petition, thanking these companies for speaking out for animals, and kindly asking them to say “no” to locking animals up as if they were simply units on a production line.
Photo credit: Mercy For Animals Canada