Sample letter on M&S and the farrowing crate
A great way to educate the public about farmed animal issues and cruelty is through your local letters page. Local papers do prefer to hear from local people about issues that matter to them. Please only send this letter to papers where you live, as otherwise they maybe less likely to publish future letters if they get bombarded. Many thanks.
Letters to the Editor
I’ve recently been made aware of yet another of factory farming’s hidden horrors: the pig farrowing crate.
The farrowing crate is a metal cage in which sows are confined a week before giving birth and remain imprisoned until their piglets are 3-4 weeks old. The crate is so small that the sows cannot even turn around, and fits them so closely that it can rub against their skin. After their piglets are born, their mothers are unable either to reach them if they choose, or escape their attentions if they need to. For more than thirty days the sows remain in this cage, able to do nothing but stand up, lie down and eat: most face a blank wall. Naturally, mother pigs are restless and active, making nests of twigs for their young: the farrowing crate imprisons them for the crime of being mothers. Then, a month after the piglets are born, they are abruptly removed - months before weaning would take place naturally. Their mother is normally reimpregnated just days later.
I was shocked to discover that whilst some of Marks & Spencer’s pig meat comes from animals born outside, the vast majority are then reared indoors and that many of their pigs are still born in the farrowing crate. The fact that some of their sows already farrow outside shows that it can be done, yet many of their pigs still endure this barbaric treatment. Animal welfare group Viva! is asking M&S to consign these crates to the history books where they belong – and is campaigning for a total UK ban.
Animals should never be kept in cages just inches larger than their own bodies. The total frustration of any creature's mothering instincts can never be right. Sadly, this treatment is typical of factory farming which puts profit ahead of animal welfare every time. M&S is not the only supermarket that sells meat from the farrowing crate. I was dismayed to find out that they all do to some degree. I urge people to stop eating the meat produced in this barbaric way. For information on factory farming and vegetarianism contact Viva! at 8 York Court, Wilder St, Bristol, BS2 8QH; tel 0117 944 1000; www.viva.org.uk or www.piggles.org.uk .