With Christmas just around the corner, SAFE has again exposed the grim reality of factory pig farming. Surely, everybody wants to know how their expensive Christmas ham was produced? Or is ignorance truly bliss?
Featured on Campbell Live, the footage of faeces-covered pigs in dark concrete pens, sows in metal crates so small they can’t turn around and plenty of dead and dying piglets shocked many people. What is even more shocking though is that all practices shown are completely legal and allowed under our own Animal Welfare Act. Never has a law been so out of step with public expectation.
The pork industry in the meantime fights any meaningful improvement for pigs, as all they care about is their bottom dollar. So let’s hit them where it hurts most: in their pocket. After years of campaigning and lobbying the time has come to make clear to the pork industry that their abhorrent farming practices will not be tolerated and will be their downfall unless they change, and fast. Only when this cruel industry starts to lose money because of their medieval practices, will they act.
To achieve this, SAFE is calling for a consumer boycott of all pork. Yes, you read this right, all pork. Not just factory-farmed pork but all pork, including free-farmed and free-range. This may sound counter-productive. Supporting farmers who farm their animals in more humane ways and boycotting the factory farmers surely would be the way forward? Well, the last seven years have proven that this is not the case. The pork industry consists of a variety of farmers; many are intensive farmers, some are free-range farmers and others free-farm their pigs (this means no sow stalls, farrowing crates or fattening pens are used, but fattening pigs are housed in barns rather than the outdoors)
Over the years free-farm and free-range pig farmers have profited from the numerous exposés of cruel factory farms. They have seen an increase in their profits and are happy to take the money from consumers concerned about the welfare of the animals. Factory farmers, on the other hand, still have most of the market share as they sell their products to people who buy on price, are ignorant of the issues or simply don’t give a damn. As a result, the pork industry as a whole is relatively happy, with their farmers content to produce for a particular segment in the market.
A happy and content industry will not change! Why would they? Only if people start to boycott all pork will we see producers who do not participate in cruel factory farming practices start to demand change from within. Only if they become concerned that they will lose money because of the deeds of factory farmers, instead of profiting from them, will we see them motivated enough to speak up and change their industry. Only when a large sector of the industry internally agitates for change will we see results for pigs.
So let’s increase the pressure, boycott all pork and begin with this year’s Christmas ham. If enough of you do, I guarantee you that much-needed change for pigs will come a lot earlier. If we keep buying non-factory-farmed pork in the vain hope this will somehow stop the cruelty, suffering pigs will have a long wait ahead.