This little piggy went to the slaughterhouse: the horrible truth about hog farms

A typical slaughterhouse kills up to 1,100 pigs every hour, according to many animal rights organizations, including PETA.

Naturally, pigs live 10-15 years, but in factory “farms” these same breeds are lucky to live 3-5 years. Most that aren’t slaughtered or used as constant baby-makers die as piglets from unhealthy living conditions.

According to NBC News, pigs are the ninth-smartest animal. They are even more intelligent than cats and dogs. Yet, we treat these mammals who can feel pain and know fear as prisoners and lock them up in what can only be compared to solitary confinement.

It’s only in the movies that pigs run around free on farms and graze in pastures. In reality, pigs are tortured and restrained in factories. Sows are kept in gestation crates where they can barely turn around in and are constantly impregnated and nursed upon throughout the remainder of their lives- responsible for populating the factories so that Americans can eat dinner.

When most bite into a crispy piece of bacon or a tender slice of ham, they rarely keep in mind that what they are ingesting was an animal that can be domesticated as a pet, that has been skinned, pumped, processed, chilled, pressed and sliced into packaged strips.

“The sheer number of animals killed makes it impossible for pigs’ deaths to be humane and painless. Because of improper stunning, many hogs are alive when they reach the scalding-hot water baths which are intended to soften their skin and remove their hair,” says PETA.

If you were to walk into a factory farm right now, here is what you would witness: crates so small that the pigs inside them can only lay down, piglets being taken from their mothers at just 10 days old, pigs enduring intensive crowding while being transported and because of a lack of emotional stimulation, physical exercise, and ability to do their natural behaviors, pigs becoming insane and disoriented, and therefore biting crate bars until their gums bleed.

“[Factory farmers] have to feed the animals laxatives because they don’t get enough exercise to defecate,”  says Paul Willis, the founder of the “Niman Ranch Pork Company, a place dedicated to raising pigs in greater spaces and treating them humanely. “The pigs get sores, the equivalent of bedsores from concrete. They get joint problems.”

Recent studies have broken out with even more news. The Humane Society has just uncovered this month that a hog operation in Kentucky, called Iron Maiden Farms, has been feeding ground up dead piglets to their mother sows.

The video taken undercover by the humane society shows “workers gutting dead piglets and turning their intestines into a purée that is then fed back to the mother pigs, or sows. This is meant to immunize the sows against a virus, porcine epidemic diarrhea that has ravaged the hog industry, killing millions of piglets,” read a recent story by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times called “Is the Sausage Worth This?”

With other stories in recent years on similar cruelties, people continue to ask the question of whether this torture is worth the meat. In Minnesota in 2012, a company known as Christensen Farms, a pork supplier for Walmart, was reported by Mercy for Animals (MFA) with footage as proof, that workers slammed piglets into the ground head first, cut off their tails and testicles without anesthetic and even threw them across rooms.

In Iowa in 2011, another MFA investigation led to the exposure of the brutality at Iowa Select. The investigation revealed that mother pigs were “suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses, and sick and injured pigs [were] often left to languish and slowly die without proper veterinary care.”

In 2013 MFA uncovered that a factory farm in Oklahoma known as Tyson Pork Group  conducted many cases of physical abuse to pigs, including workers “throwing a bowling ball at a pig’s head, and [others] kicking, throwing, hitting, body slamming and otherwise torturing pigs.”

All in all, the bacon, the ham and the sausage really isn’t worth it. Simply because of the expense of farming, factories have taken over as a way to torture animals until they end up resting on your plate. Make the moral decision to stop eating pigs, or at least take the time to make sure the pork you are buying is “crate-free.” Do your part to end animal cruelty and inequality today if you are truly an animal lover.

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