This Is How We Treat the Pigs We Eat

A lot of people think they have a good idea how animals killed for meat are treated, and in my experience, they usually seriously underestimate the extreme cruelty and neglect that is standard practice at farms.

When they’re as young as 10 days old, piglets are taken from their mothers and have their tails cut off, their teeth clipped, and their testicles ripped out without any painkillers. And piglets who are too sick or are not growing fast enough are gruesomely killed by being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors or tossed into overcrowded gassing carts where they slowly suffocate from CO2.

The surviving piglets are packed into filthy, overcrowded pens. While pigs in nature live for about 15 years, at factory farms they are selectively bred to grow extremely fast, reaching slaughter size in just six months. Rapid growth takes a toll on these gentle animals, often causing joint problems.

In addition, countless sows are repeatedly impregnated and confined in barren metal cages so small the animals are unable to turn around. The pork industry’s use of these gestation crates, which keep pigs immobilized, is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence.

These mother pigs are killed after only three to five years because their bodies can’t handle constant breeding. They’re treated like nothing more than birthing machines.

At the slaughterhouse, pigs are all killed the same merciless way: They are hung upside down, often while still conscious, and their throats are slit.

Pigs are considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—even more intelligent than dogs—and are capable of playing video games with more success than chimps.

Despite this, not a single federal law protects pigs during their lives at factory farms. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act pertains only to the slaughterhouse, providing zero protection to them for most of their lives.

The only meaningful difference between animals we consider companions and those we eat is our treatment of them. We can live our values of kindness and compassion by leaving these intelligent, sensitive creatures off our plates. Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.