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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writer<br><br><br><br>
MIAMI - Some pregnant pigs in Florida are headed to the slaughterhouse, an unintended consequence of a new state constitutional amendment meant to protect them.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Last month, voters made Florida the first state in the nation to ban the confinement of pregnant pigs in cages so narrow they can't turn around.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Only two farmers in the state, though, use the small cages and they've decided to get out of the hog business. And that means getting rid of their pigs.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
"We can survive it (the constitutional amendment), I suppose, but we figured it would pass so we made preparations to drop out," Dade City farmer Henry Mathis, one of the hog producers, said Thursday.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Steve Basford, a farmer whose operation is in the Florida Panhandle, didn't return a call seeking comment.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Mathis, who also raises cattle and grows hay, is sending about 100 sows to Mississippi to be killed; another 100 hogs are headed to a slaughterhouse in Jacksonville, Fla.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Mathis said he has about 150 pregnant sows that he'll keep until they give birth. He expects to give the baby pigs to friends in Iowa.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Farmers say small cages keep pregnant pigs from fighting and injuring themselves, and make feeding the animals easier. The cages have been endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Animal rights activists, however, call the cages cruel and debilitating.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
"If you had to be tortured and killed or just killed I think most of us would go for just killed," said Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Mathis, who expects to have the last pigs off his land by next month, says the amendment is another thorn in the side of farmers.<br><br><br><br>
"Farmers are slowly dying," Mathis said. "They're a rare breed anyway a rare breed among the rare breed."<br><br><br><br>
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When sows are housed together, they tend to develop a very strong hierarchal relationship. It is normal for most animals to develop a hierarchy, but sows exert extremely strong and vicious dominance behaviours on each other. This means if you put a group of sows together in a pen, they will fight viciously and they will fight a lot. I have heard that it is not uncommon for free housed sows to frequently have wounds from fighting. They will tail bite until there is nothing left of what little we leave them with. They fight particuluarly at feeding time, where dominant sows will get a lot to eat and subordinate sows will get little or nothing to eat. We then have unhealthy obese sows and unhealthy starving sows.<br><br><br><br>
This type of management system only looks good to those that don't know about swine behaviour and welfare. Give them more space, so they can walk around, so they have better welfare- I'll vote yes to that. And it won't improve welfare.<br><br><br><br>
Personally, I hate stalls. There are more welfare friendly housing methods that are better than both the stalls and the regular pens- if you put a series of half walls where sows can get away from each other during fights helps; if you feed them small amounts in different areas of the pen so everyone can get at a feed space away from dominant animals that helps; if you take into consideration their cleanliness and provide them an area to defecate in (where they can get away from it) and consider their intelligence and provide them with mental stimulation. That will improve their welfare, not just throwing them into a pen.<br><br><br><br>
Out of all the animal industries, I have the most problem with swine- so I am the first to say that changes need to be made- but I don't feel this is the right one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think there is a right answer. As long as people refuse to see that animals have souls, they will never make the right decision for them. All we -vegetarians, vegans, and animal lovers- can do is to fight for them and try to change laws, so animals in captivity will live better lives. Personally I think it is a battle we will never win, but as long as we continue this "fight for life" we not only save some animals, but also set the right example for the future generations.
 

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Pioneer said: "As long as people refuse to see that animals have souls, they will never make the right decision for them."<br><br>
I don't believe animals (even the human kind) have souls...but I am certain that animals (even the human kind) experience pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You don't believe that souls exist? Interesting. You are actually the first person I've met that felt that way. Just curious, and it's perfectly ok with me that you have that opinion and I'm definitely not wanting to argue, but do you mind me asking why you would feel that way or come to that conclusion. I'm very curious..inquiry minds want to know <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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I started a discussion on souls, just so this doesn't get way off topic.<br><br><br><br>
But for the record, I don't believe in souls, either.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3061" target="_blank">http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...&threadid=3061</a>
 
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