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Gestation Crates Begone!

Story ID:8241
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various Iowa usa
Year:2012
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Will we ever have a presidential candidate who is a friend of
animals? I had hoped that President Obama was going to be such a
person of integrity and compassion, but sadly some of his positions
in this regard don't separate him from the uncaring players who
do nothing to alleviate CAFO suffering and the suffering of
animals generally -including the sows trapped in gestation crates.

It seemed to me that we would have more hope for compassion for
them with a Democratic president than a Republican one because,
when it comes to voting for better conditions for the animals, it
is the Democrats in Congress who by and large vote for improvement
for their well being. Please go the HSUS Humane Scoreboard on the
internet and you will see how each Congressperson voted in the 112th
Congress in this regard.

And certainly the views of Republican Representative Steve King of
Iowa re animals is a sad reflection of how little he cares about
animals. Imagine he wants to overturn any agricultural advances
made by Congress recently for alleviating farm animal suffering. And,
if that is not bad enough, he also believes that it is perfectly all
right for dogs to engage in brutal fighting and to bring children to
view this horrible, bloody spectacle. For him, it seems to be great
family entertainment. I hope that you are appalled by his positions
re animals as I am.

And now this week - the Obama Administration announced yet another
massive give-away to Iowa's pork industry in the form of a 100
million dollar buy-up of surplus pork. This is unsettling and
greatly disappointing to anyone who feels animal pain - because by
this buy-up, he is bailing out an industry which is obviously too
large. This buy-up could have been a reason to encourage the people
of Iowa to start slowly dismantling these huge cafos which cause so
much pain to millions and millions of farm animals, but instead is
used as encouragement to stay the course of keeping Iowa's poor pigs
in abject misery. Smaller farms would not hurt Iowa economically and
the animals would be treated more humanely.

Of course, I know the why and the answer for Obama's buy-up. It is simple-
politics and votes. What we won't do for that precious vote.
I could not help thinking of how sad it is to do anything lacking in
compassion to get a vote. I truly doubt that if Lincoln were alive
today and was campaigning for the presidency, that he would give Iowa,
or any other state for that matter, a 100 million dollars to buy surplus
pork and perpetuate the suffering of sows in gestation crates. These
crates give them no ability to move around at all. Can you imagine
spending every minute of every hour of every day for two to three years
imprisoned in a crate? Why are we as a people so tolerating of this
cruelty? Why is the President and the Congress so tolerant of them as
well?

This week Mercy for Animals sent us again an e-mail containing shocking
video footage which was secretly recorded by one of their undercover
investigators at a Walmart pork supplier. It showed the terrible cruelty
which mother pigs and their piglets undergo. It's one thing writing
about this cruelty and quite another to see it first hand.

Re their video which you can find at their site, MFA tells us: "It reveals
thousands of pregnant pigs confined to filthy, metal gestation crates
so small that they are unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably,
workers slamming piglets headfirst into the concrete floor and leaving
them to die, and sick and injured pigs with severe, bleeding wounds or
infections left to suffer without veterinary care."

When I read something like this, I can't help but ask the question -
who are these people who do such cruel things to innocent, defenseless
animals? Do they believe in God? Or do they at least have some moral
code which should direct them differently in their care of these
innocent animals?

The good news is that Costco and Kmart decided to eliminate these
cruel gestation crates from their pork supply chains. Other major
food providers- McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Safeway, and Kroger,
have also recently made promises to eliminate gestation crate use by
their suppliers. But WALMART remains wedded to the use of pork from
factory farms which condemn these intelligent and social animals to a
life of misery and deprivation. I imagine that's one of the reasons
their pork may be cheaper.

Re Walmart generally, I started to become disenchanted with them a
while back. I was disappointed to learn that they were slow to give
women managerial positions. Maybe things have changed since in this
regard, but I just don't know. And then I began to realize what a giant
monopoly they had become - causing many small enterprises to go out
of business. This can't be good or right.

When my friend ordered a black box converter for me from Walmarts, I
told him that I wished that he had patronized our local Radio Shack
instead because I fear they will be going out of business. Yes, I
don't mind paying more for things if it will keep the small businesses
going.

Well MFA is doing what they can to convince Walmarts to join the others
in eliminating the cruel gestation crates from their pork supply chains.
They want the message to go out in this regard, and are giving free
campaign bumper stickers which says "Walmart Pork: Cruelty on your fork."

MFA has also just launched a nationwide, 3-month tour that will visit
Walmart stores in over 70 cities. They are asking us to join them when
they arrive at our nearby Walmart. I truly hope and pray that caring
people will do just that. I also hope and pray that Walmart gets the
message - cruelty to animals whether they be pigs, chickens, or cows is
something a compassionate America will not tolerate.

And lastly -pigs have always gotten a bad rap. They are not dirty and
they are not stupid. If they take mud baths, its because there is no
clean water around which they would much prefer to mud to keep them
hydrated. They are also social beings who appreciate socializing and
being with their families -which of course, is denied them in a cafo
setting.