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Article published March 18, 2013
Buy from local farms
Beth McMaster Valencia
In his letter of Feb. 26, “Protest misguided,” Zachary D. Frazier expresses the opinion that Mercy for Animals should not be protesting the use of gestation crates in pork production. Gestation and farrowing crates are used only by factory farms, which are not “farms.” The use of a farrowing crate is justified by a small farmer, although many do not use them. In a factory farm, a sow lives every minute of her short life in a gestation crate except for birthing her piglets. The gestation crate is not even big enough to allow her to lie on her side. She spends her life unable to turn around and can only lie on her chest. After five to eight litters, she is slaughtered. Many studies have been done in Europe, and sows can be housed together. Studies show that although more piglets are crushed by their mothers in pens, those numbers are offset by the fact that sows confined in gestation crates give birth to fewer live piglets. Many European countries have banned gestation crates as obvious animal cruelty. My suggestion to Frazier is to look inside one of these places, if he can, and read the studies. States are passing laws to make it illegal to see or report what happens in animals-for-food facilities. These laws also will make it impossible to report unfair labor practices and the safety of our food. Is that not a red flag? The best thing people can do for their families and the animals is to buy from local farmers. We have many more local farms than most people can imagine, offering meat, eggs, fruit and produce. No matter what we use an animal for, it deserves humane treatment.