In an Op-Ed piece published in The Globe and Mail, actor-turned-activist Ryan Gosling asked Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council to close a “dangerous” loophole to prohibit the pork industry from using gestation crates, or as Gosling writes, “iron maidens.”
“Pigs in tiny crates suffer beyond anything most of us can easily imagine,” Gosling wrote. “They are unable even to turn around for weeks at a time, so that their muscles and bones deteriorate. And these extremely social and intelligent animals lose their minds from being denied any social or psychological stimulation at all.”
Sow housing is a topic of high interest in the United States, too. As PorkNetwork Editor JoAnn Alumbaugh pointed out in a recent article, “the swine housing issue is as simple as it is complex.”
Dr. Howard Hill, President-Elect of the National Pork Producers Council, also commented on the issue.
“The bottom line, however, is that there is no scientific evidence that open gestation housing provides a better environment for animals than gestation stalls,” he said.
At this year’s National Pork Industry Forum, pork producers approved a resolution reaffirming the industry's position that producers should be able to select a sow housing system, including gestation stalls or individual maternity pens, that best promotes employee safety and animal care while ensuring a reliable supply of pork for consumers.
"Pork producers, working with veterinarians, understand what it takes to provide the best care and welfare for their animals," says Karen Richter, a farmer from Montgomery, Minn., and National Pork Board vice president. "The National Pork Board builds its animal and well-being programs on the foundation of what practices are best for the pig. By adopting this resolution, producers are reaffirming their commitment to choose what type of housing is best for their animals."