Thank you, Star Tribune, for the great editorial on the flurry of companies, farmers and states moving away from using gestation crates for pigs ("Farm practices face a critical test in U.S.," Dec. 22). Each year, about 5 million mother pigs are confined in crates so small they can't even turn around in a circle for years on end. The crates are barely larger than their own bodies.
If we were to do this to a dog or cat, it'd likely warrant felony animal-cruelty charges, yet pigs feel pain, pleasure and various emotions just like our pets. Pigs are smarter, to boot -- Animal Planet ranked them as one of the top 10 smartest species. While doing away with gestation crates doesn't create a utopia for pigs, it's a big step forward in creating a more humane society.
NICOLE TISH, NORTH MANKATO* * *
One look at a picture of a pig in a gestation crate and you know something is wrong, and animal welfare experts know it, too. Temple Grandin, an adviser to the pork industry and renowned animal scientist, said that crates for pigs have got to go. Oddly enough, the pork industry refuses to listen to consumers who don't want to see animals abused, nor will it listen to its clients who are phasing out their use, nor, most important, to its own advisers.
The National Pork Producers Council's communications director even stated: "So our animals can't turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets. ... I don't know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around." I look forward to the day gestation crates, or any other kind of tiny cages for farm animals, cease to exist.
BONNIE STENNES, ST. PAUL