When do the rights of a few uninformed, misguided, malcontents take precedence over scientiﬁcally proven animal husbandry practices? Animal science has come a long way in the development of production practices that have dramatically improved the efficiencies and welfare of livestock production.
Yet, with total disregard for all of these accomplishments, the food industry is succumbing to the whims of a few radicals. Please don’t let congress decree animal welfare standards for all livestock farmers. It would be a dangerous precedent for an industry that has been built on scientiﬁc research.
Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Not only will the eighteenth century production practices congress is threatening to impose upon livestock producers raise the cost of production, it will totally obliterate the price advantage of the fast food business.
You are asking livestock producers to step back in time — insisting upon livestock production methods that were so inefficient it was impossible to remain competitive in the red meat business.
All of this is being pushed simply because of the temerity of a bunch of radical do-gooders who have never physically produced a single pound of red meat. They’ve never stepped foot in a farrowing pen to pick up those dead babies that the sow had laid on, or attacked by a mad sow disturbed while farrowing.
The creation of individual farrowing stalls was an invention of necessity. And much to the chagrin of these self-imposed martyrs, the farrowing stall saved pigs, saved lives – and saved money.
Unfortunately animal welfare activists are being driven by misunderstanding and false information of animal production practices. It is a concern that industry standards are being set by public votes and regulatory edicts, instead of by animal specialists. Many of these people have never stepped foot inside a hog barn, or even visited a modem farm.
Perhaps they should visit a farm like that of the late Roy Keppy, and learn ﬁrsthand what they’re really talking about. It would be a wake up call to reality, as Roy walked the talk to national prominence within the pork industry.
What the radicals are suggesting is nothing more than the euphoria of a fantasy. In this day and age, with expensive land and labor, it’s not feasible to competitively produce pork in compliance with their demands. Cost of production could double!
On the other hand, it’s nothing less than stupidity to suggest that conﬁned farrowing crates are somehow an inhumane method of production that man has been able to engineer. It’s taken years of experimentation and progress to bring us to this point in time.
With the conﬁnement system of farrowing the sow is managed with ultimate care and attention to detail. She is monitored with the expertise of a veterinarian during the time of farrowing, individual health treatment, nutrition, and lactation complications. The vulnerability of the life of a baby pig is protected and treated on an individual basis as well. So, to suggest that this is inhumane is simply nonsense.
To go back in time, cowering to the uniformed is wrong! Sows are not confined for most of their lives in tight stalls called gestation crates. Though this is their primary claim — if the truth be known, they would know that precise management techniques limit the confinement time to a minimum.
In fact, the conﬁnement element is one of extreme humanity. It protects both the sow and the little baby pigs.
But both big business and big public are buying into this propaganda. And are seemingly willing to pay the price. If these people get their way the cost of doing business is going to skyrocket. Smithﬁeld Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, estimated that it would cost them about $300 million dollars to switch over to the “open pen” concept.
Even more disturbing, are the recent announcements by such fast food companies as the McDonalds, that their suppliers will have to stop using conﬁnement crates. Are companies like this giving any thought to the consequences?
Do they realize they’re being fed a bill of goods?
Even the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians say that science does not support the claim being made by animal rights activists.
Do the right thing by yourselves and livestock producers alike!