Pigs Confined to a Lifetime of Misery, in Violation of Anti-Cruelty Law

Posted on September 15, 2006

Updates
March 5, 2008
: The Animal Legal Defense Fund, East Bay Animal Advocates, and
three Bay Area residents dismissed their lawsuit against Corcpork, Inc.
California’s largest industrial pig farming operation, after the
facility agreed to stop the abusive practice of confining thousands of
female pigs in crates so tiny that they cannot turn around or even
scratch. Read the full story here.

January 25, 2007: Just one week after ALDF refiled its lawsuit against CorcPork in California Superior Court, Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced that it would phase out gestation crates at all of its company-owned pig farms over the next ten years. These crates, which confine sows for nearly their entire lives, are at the center of ALDF’s lawsuit against CorcPork and Farmer John® brand products.

Two pigs confined at Corcpork, Inc.September 15, 2006

Tulare County, Ca.-

In kids’ movies and cartoons, and in our popular
imagination, piglets scamper on green grass under blue skies and, like
all the animals "down on the farm," share tender moments frolicking
with their mothers and siblings. But the reality of life for the vast
majority of pigs raised for food–including the 9000 breeding sows who
are living, right now, in constant suffering at CorcPork, Inc.,
California’s largest industrial pig farming operation–is more like a
horror show.

Based on reliable information obtained by ALDF, CorcPork keeps its
thousands of pregnant and nursing pigs in violation of California’s
anti-cruelty laws–crammed into stalls that are often so small that the
sows’ bodies are permanently forced into the bars at either end. These
mothers spend virtually their entire lives pushed into hard, cold
metal, with hard concrete floors beneath them, without relief. These
highly intelligent and sensitive animals cannot turn around. They
cannot scratch. They cannot walk even one foot forward or backward.
They are locked in these crates without the ability to engage in any of
a pig’s natural activities. All the while, they are forced to endure a
constant cycle of pregnancy followed almost immediately after giving
birth by impregnation, until their tired bodies finally give out.

California’s penal code makes it clear that all animals must
be given adequate room to exercise; given the size of their crates, and
the fact that the sows can barely even move in them, ALDF claims that
CorcPork is clearly committing thousands of violations of this law
every single day. ALDF has filed suit in California Superior Court to
put an immediate end to these abusive practices.

Meanwhile, consumers who buy pork products from popular brands such as
Farmer John, which have been linked to pigs raised at CorcPork’s
facility, have been, unknowingly, purchasing cruelly- and
unlawfully-produced food products. Three co-plaintiffs in ALDF’s case
claim an injury as a result of unknowingly purchasing products that
were produced in conditions so inhumane that the law declares them
illegal.

The Tulare County, California, operation’s intensive confinement of
sows, and the resulting failure to provide them with any exercise area
at all, has been scientifically demonstrated to cause numerous problems
for these animals destined, at the end of their sad lives, to become
sausage links and bacon strips. Intensive confinement has also been
demonstrated to cause depression in sows, which is often expressed
through behaviors such as bar biting, head waving, licking, and
so-called "vacuum chewing," where the psychologically-disturbed animals
chew constantly at nothing at all.

ALDF’s lawsuit seeks nothing more than what the law requires
for these pigs–a court order allowing for their basic need to exercise
and walk around at will. A sow should be given room to turn around
without difficulty, to relax and move her legs, to walk and run to the
extent she desires, to groom, and to comfortably get up and down.
Moreover, sows should be able to walk and run on surfaces such as grass
or dirt, rather than the cold concrete that is currently their only bed
at CorcPork.

What you can do:

Support ALDFand our groundbreaking Litigation Program to make sure that animal
abusers are stopped–and that government agencies do their jobs to
enforce animal protection laws.

Choose alternatives to pork products whenever possible if you
want to be sure that you are not inadvertently supporting the kind of
unlawful cruelty found at CorcPork, Inc.