Op-ed: Jane Velez-Mitchell – Get rid of gestation crates NOW
June 7th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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Jane Velez-Mitchell is the author of 'iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life' and 'Secrets Can Be Murder: The Killer Next Door' as well as 'Addict Nation: An Intervention for America'. She hosts the Jane Velez-Mitchell show nightly on HLN at 7p ET.

McDonald's says it’s phasing out pig gestation crates. When I heard that news, I almost started crying. I was so grateful because I have witnessed the horror. One look at a pig gestation crate and you will know exactly what I mean.

A breeding sow spends most of her life in a tiny cage. It’s usually about seven feet long and two feet wide. She cannot turn around. She cannot scratch herself. She must urinate and defecate where she stands. Simply put, I believe she is tortured, day in and day out.

By “she” I mean the almost six million breeding pigs that as you read this, are stacked in giant warehouses unable to see the light of day. Each female pig is surrounded by thousands of other sows, screeching their wretchedness. It’s obscene. It’s shameful. It’s un-American. It gives me nightmares. Literally.

Clarified – What are gestation crates?

So, I was thrilled and filled with hope when I heard that headline that the company synonymous with fast food was committing to only buy pork from farmers that do not use gestation crates.

But, then, I heard “by 2022.”

I felt hoodwinked. I felt angry. If you know something is morally reprehensible then it is your moral obligation to stop it as soon as possible. If you see a child who is being kept in abusive conditions you don’t say, “Hey, I’ll be back in a decade and get you out of this jam.” You do something immediately.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, studies show pigs are more intelligent than dogs and even some primates. Scientists have shown that pigs are capable of playing simple video games, learning from each other, and even learning names.

I believe McDonald's, and all the other companies who are prolonging the process of ending this institutionalized torture, are foot-dragging despite the pleas of American consumers who are decent people and don’t want to co-sign or subsidize this incomprehensible cruelty.

To quote Paul Shapiro, HSUS Vice President of Farm Animal Protection, “Forcing a 500-pound, social, intelligent creature to live 24/7 in a cage barely larger than her body is simply cruel and inhumane. These animals are essentially immobilized and lined up like parked cars for months on end.”

Legendary animal welfare scientist Dr. Temple Grandin says, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and gestation stalls have got to go.” The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production - which was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and included the former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture - recommends all systems that "restrict natural movement,” including gestation crates, be phased-out.

And I say, end them now. NOW!

To those who rationalize, “Well, these crates are economically efficient and ending this system is going to drive the price of pork up,” I say: not so fast.

Pigs in gestation crates are much more likely to get sick. A Humane Society report on gestation crates issued just this month said, “Housing the sows directly above their own excrement has been shown to expose the animals to aversively high levels of ammonia, and respiratory disease has been found to be a significant health issue for pigs kept in confinement.”

The report, based on a study conducted by Donald Broom, professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Cambridge and Jeremy Marchant-Forde, now a research animal scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, delivers a litany of foot and leg disorders, body sores, urinary tract infections, cardiovascular problems and traumatic injury caused by being forced to stand and lie on a tiny rectangle of unnatural flooring often covered with residual feces and urine.

The alternative “group housing,” allows pigs greater freedom of movement. Iowa State University conducted a two-and-a-half year long economic analysis of the issue and found that that a group housing solution resulted in a weaned pig cost that was 11 percent less than the cost of a weaned pig from the individual stall confinement system.

It’s time to get real about the real costs of factory farming and its attendant cruelties. The United States, by far the world’s biggest meat consumers, is in the throes of an obesity crisis driven, I believe, by the availability of cheap meat via fast food.

That obesity crisis is driving up the cost of health care and health care is a key factor in our government’s current struggle to get a grip on the nation’s ballooning deficit. If treating our fellow creatures with just a sliver of decency during the process of raising them to be killed costs a tad more, be assured there will be plenty of positive repercussions.

The factory farm industry has gone to tremendous lengths to try to keep the secret of pig gestation crates from the American public. But, thanks to the work of the HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals and PETA, the secret is out.

Americans have gotten a glimpse of this hidden horror and want it to stop. Not in 2022. Now.

Read - Clarified: What are gestation crates? and Food safety doesn't end with S.510 and A day two pigs would die

soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. K VT

    Thank you Jane for helping to bring light to the atrocities that occur to the animals that become our food. Sadly, most Americans don't have the opportunity to know where their food comes from so that they can make educated eating decisions, whether that is to eat animal products or not. We definitively need more coverage of these issues!

    June 11, 2012 at 9:15 am |

    I love pork. I don't care where it comes from, I love it.

    June 11, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Sandra Z

      In that case, I think it would be fair to say that you love all meat that tastes good to you, no matter where it comes from, therefore I strongly urge you to try human meat, well-cooked, since that's supposed to be among the best tasting. Perhaps it could come from convicted murderers and that might make it more palatable. Oh, so sorry, I forgot, you don't care where it comes from. Never mind, eat away.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Katherine Sloan

      I hope you reincarnate as a pig. You deserve it. Btw why are you on her site when you don't care about animals. I bet if she knew you, she would not like you anymore than I do. You square!

      March 13, 2014 at 12:22 am |
  3. Trina

    Odd. I saw a pig enclosed in railings and she couldn't turn around or go anywhere. The farmer told me that it was to keep her from laying down on her piglets. The farm only had the one sow and had plenty of empty stalls. There were other animals and definitely no crowding issue. I accepted that it was for the protection of the piglets. When they were big enough, she would no longer be confined.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • vegan chef

      Between 60 and 70 percent of sows are kept in crates during pregnancy in the United States,[9] each pregnancy lasting four months, with an average of 2.5 litters every year.[10] Sows, which can weigh 600 pounds (270 kg),[11] spend most of their three or four years of adult life in crates,[11] giving birth to between five and eight litters. As the sows grow larger, they no longer fit in the crates, and must sleep on their chests, unable to turn, until they are slaughtered.[4] The crates are usually placed side by side in rows of 20 sows per row and 100 rows per shed, the floors of the crates slatted to allow excrement to fall into a pit below.

      source: en. wikipedia. org / wiki / Gestation_crate

      June 11, 2012 at 6:11 am |

        Have you ever had veal ? MMMmmmm...good.

        June 11, 2012 at 7:38 am |
        • Sandra Z

          Funny you should say that! I just replied to another post of yours where I mentioned that cannibals have said that human flesh closely resembles the taste of veal!!! I think I have your next meal planned for you!

          June 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
        • Seriously

          You sound seriously immature.

          June 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • Katherine Sloan

        It breaks my heart to hear these and other incidents involving animal abuse. I am vegan and try to get others to turn vegan too. Slowly we are changing the culture. This will not go ob forever. I have been fighting for animal rights for years and I do see progress. Back when I was eleven I was vegetarian and fighting for animals by writing letter...this was before computers. I knew of no other vegetarian anywhere in real life. It was a rarity. Now, if I know someone is interested in becoming vegan (I have been vegan for ten years), I go out and buy vegan foods that I know taste good after finding out what the person(s) like. It is working well as there are more and more people turning vegan! :)

        March 13, 2014 at 12:27 am |
  4. FLT

    I'm a vegetarian and routinely out-match meat eaters in strength and agility. People who think a plant-based diet leads to weakness need to do their research. Several Olympians have been (or are) vegan or vegetarian. Do you eat to live or live to eat? If you eat to live, you wouldn't have a problem with a plant-based diet.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • This or that

      Yes, but who enjoys what they eat more? I just had bacon, and may go back for seconds.

      June 11, 2012 at 9:43 am |
      • Katherine Sloan

        You are undoubtedly an A hole and should not be on this site. No one wants to hear your opinion. Jane is an animal lover. Not some beer drinking ball scratching moron who is 300 pounds. Go vegan or go home!

        March 13, 2014 at 12:31 am |
    • Katherine Sloan

      Hi, FLT
      I want to encourage you to take the leap and go vegan. Read about dairy cow abuse. You can buy great vegan pizzas made by Daiya brand at Whole Foods. Please do everything you can to stop veal use. Animals who are used for dairy are abused as their little ones are ripped away from them and slaughtered!

      March 13, 2014 at 12:30 am |
  5. Timothy

    She equates these baby piglets to little children. So what, these are for eating not for having relationships with. Range free this and range free that, come on lady this is life and although you may not like it, it is here so shut up and enjoy your bacon, sausage, and Christmas Ham...

    June 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Sandra Z

      Wow Timothy, I'm astounded at how enlightened and compassionate you sound! I'm quite certain you are a very handsome, well-educated and kind-hearted man. Maybe we could meet? You might just be my dream man!

      June 11, 2012 at 4:00 am |

      I agree with you. Folks that put human characteristics on pigs are crazy.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  6. Chris

    Notice to editor: "Gestitation crates" got changed to "Gestation Rates" on front page of headlines.


    June 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  7. Angel K

    Sandra, I don't live in any alternative universe, I work on these issues everyday as a scientist and I evaluate the situation based on data. I agree with you farm policy and practices are driven in large part by economics, but I disagree that it will never change...it is changing as we speak. Why do you think that this issue is even on CNN, several years ago the general public wasn't aware of gestation crates, battery cages, or any of the other profit driven practices used by corporate factories. And as stated we vote every time we buy our food products...we can choose environmental pollution, microbial resistance, contaminated meat, food-borne illness...etc, or we chose local fresh food products...just look around your community and support local food. Also, anyone who actually believes that the cost of meat will go up substantially knows nothing about the food economy...more competition and local producers will stabilize both availability and costs, and we won't be exposed to the level of bacterial contamination that comes with massive processing where these bugs are spread to millions of pounds of meat at a time. Read the Pew Report "Putting Meat on the Table" as a start in your education (http://www.ncifap.org/).

    June 10, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  8. Sandra Z

    Thank God there are people like JVM in the world to open people's eyes as to what is really going out there with the horrifying "lives" of the millions of animals who are tortured, mutilated and otherwise abused so the waistlines of obese Americans can keep increasing. Do all of you who would argue otherwise realize that "farms" today are no better than concentration camps for animals and that they are kept locked, sealed, and concealed from the world? If you truly want to know what the world of animal food production is like these days, read the extremely well-researched book "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer. Of course if you'd still rather be like an ostrich and bury your head in the sand while continuing to consume your fellow living, sentient, beings, well, I suppose ignorance is bliss.

    June 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

      I like the way you end your argument, by admonishing everyone. Brilliant.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:04 am |
      • Sandra Z

        Thanks, teach, I do agree that my argument is rather brilliant, and it's nice to be validated.

        June 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  9. Pablo

    Again this article is misleading. The pigs I have seen in gestation crates are there for birth not for life.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  10. Kieran

    Oh my.......
    Please vegans, do the remainder of us a favor: eat your vegetation, turn pale and pasty white, wither, and die like a malnourished plant.

    June 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • GRS62

      Don't worry- those malnourished vegans will still be around to witness your over-tanned cancer treatments, unsuccessful attempts to hide the rolls with spanx followed by gastric bypass surgery and early death from diabetes. Enjoy that juicy McFat burger.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:46 am |
      • Pallasathene

        Riiiiight. We all know that vegans don't ever get cancer. /sarcasm off.

        June 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
        • Compassion

          What you is what you are...a pig.

          June 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
        • vegan chef

          Of course vegetarians get cancer, but meat eaters are 70% more likely to to do so.

          guardian. co. uk / science / 2009 / jul / 01 / vegetarians-blood-cancer-diet-risk

          June 11, 2012 at 5:52 am |
  11. Robin Torme'

    Pigs are smarter than some people. As a science prodigy, (I went from 7th grade to college on a full academic scholarship), I worked in the field for years and studies confirm if animals are tortured like these pigs, they excrete dioxins, toxins, free radicals and other poisons into their systems which are then consumed by the public hence high cancer rates and other negative health ramifications. Blood samples should be extracted for forensic anaysis and to field out the appropriate DNA components nesessary for identification, this would subvert authority for a class action lawsuit against McDonalds for non-disclosure. I'm inclined to believe should consumers be informed of this predisposure to cancer and other significant ailments, sales would plummet. But since McDonalds would strongly oppose such efforts, people can just wise up and stop consuming this poison. But like I said, pigs are smarter than some people. Don't even get me started on the spiritual aspects but in one sentence, who knows, maybe karma or justice will have it that the idiots who condone such blatant cruelty will come back in their next life as a pig at a McDonalds factory farm....

    June 9, 2012 at 5:03 am |
  12. Angel K

    From reading the posts it appears there is some confusion about the term "farm." CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operations), the primary perpetrators of crates and other "tools" of the trade are NOT farms. We must make the distinction. What we want and need are the millions of small farms back in business and the corporate model of animal agriculture disbanded. These operations could not exist without taxpayer subsidized grain, cheap illegal labor, and externalized costs to the environment (that we all end up paying for). They should have never come into existence and if anti-trust had been enforced they couldn't have. Please educate yourself and push for ag reform in the new Farm Bill! Oh and don't buy corporate meat, poultry, milk, or eggs. It's the only real way to vote!

    June 9, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Sandra zaninovich

      Angel K. what alternative universe are you living in if you have even a moment's hope that "small family farms" will ever return!? Don't you realize that today's world is all about profit, profit, and more profit?? Now that big agri has seen the promised land of torturing and killing millions of animals at an ever increasing rate, thus maximizing the almighty buck, do you seriously think there is a snowball's chance in hell of ever going back? What man is doing to animals is disgusting beyond belief, and there is no going back.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
      • Your English Teacher

        There you go again. The real problem is what man is doing to man. Pigs are not pets, they are a food source. Just like all the other animals we have come to eat. I believe that the farmers are probably taking care of their livestock better than half the world takes care of its own. Humans let other humans die of starvation. Which is worse.

        June 10, 2012 at 10:50 am |
        • Sandra Z

          Thankfully I never had English teachers lame enough to leave a comment like that. What universe do you live in where people don't have pigs for pets? Or where farmers actually care about livestock? Pigs are quite commonly kept as pets, just ask George Clooney (I mention him as a person we are both familiar with, since you wouldn't know the other ones I know). It is a well-known fact that pigs are more intelligent than dogs, sensitive, and very friendly, and thus make great pets. Also, how could you be so ignorant as to state that farmers take care of livestock? Are you serious? Have you seen any of the videos taken undercover at these wonderful "farms" which constitute 99% of "homes" for these poor animals?? No matter whether you believe that dogs, cats, pigs, cows, ANY sentient being, is food or a companion, NO LIVING BEING DESERVES THIS KIND OF TREATMENT. I believe it was Gandhi who said the measure of a people is its treatment of animals, and boy do we fail that test. Pull your head out of the sand and get yourself at least a smidge better educated before you launch a career as any kind of teacher (I certainly hope you aren't one now).

          June 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
        • vegan chef

          So you believe we should only do something about the worst things. Great give me your address so I can come take all of your possessions. After all murder is worse than robbery so I am sure you won't try to stop me or call the police.

          Now do you see how silly your post is?

          June 11, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  13. suzanne

    Jane, A Professor of veterinary Medicine, University of California points out, signing the EGG BILL will keep Hens in cages forever. The language of the Bill is wrong. Read STOP THE ROTTEN EGG BILL combating the egg industry's attempt to keep Hens in cages forever, WE MUST INSIST ON GETTING RID OF CAGES ENTIRELY. If the Egg Bill legislation is passed the there will be no meaning full positive impact on the Hens. They will still suffer unimaginable suffering. Please read what this veterinarian has to say, Nedim c. Buyuknihci V.M.D. Professor of Veternary Medicine. STOP THE ROTTEN EGG BILL and let see if we should be doing something differant?

    June 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Pablo

      Again more propaganda, where is the link to the bill and where are your facts???

      June 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  14. Solo

    This is not worth a CNN vent site! If the blog author had any idea of the trail that all of her consumables endure, food included, she'd be overwhelmed and stunned at practices all over the globe. Those like her have narrow views and a narrow minded approach that they feel revolves only around them. It's ignorance.

    June 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  15. mike

    The link should read CRATES, not RATES.

    CNN, I'm going to start charging you for my services.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  16. Biff Tannen

    Get over it Jane – it's how the country has enough to eat

    June 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • kc

      Bill, you dont seem like a very caring person! FYI I served in the Peace Corps helping others and know that Meat actually increases world hunger – we also eat more cooked flesh than ever in history which is killing our health care system too.

      Every 10lbs of corn/grains fed to pigs/birds in unsanitary and cruel factory farms (MeatVideo dotcom must see) only about 1-2 lbs is converted to flesh. Like us, they eat and burn some off just living and exercising (they restrict with cruel crates) and poop some out. So lots of resources are wasted as well as time to care (if you can call it that) for the animals, transport to slaughter.

      You need to think and act less selfishly others and more long term as most or our environment, health, billions of mammals will continue to needlessly suffer. Learn the truth – MeatVideo dotcom, movies Food Inc, Earthlings and Forks over Knives.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
      • Pablo

        Again you are wrong. The animals are treated humanely, and the ONLY goal is to increase birth yield and to protect the young pigs from being killed or eaten.

        This article is written by an anti-meat advocate with the intent of driving meat costs higher and making farming not competitive.

        Wait until all your meat and fruits and vegetables are grown in 3rd world countries.

        We will be importing diseases and parasites that do NOT exist in north america.

        We will also be export TRUE cruelty. Animals and people are incredibly abused in other parts of the world. The west is a real paradise when it comes to animal husbandry and human rights. Go visit Asia or south america if you want to see brutality.

        June 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  17. This or that

    "Opinion: Abolish gestation rates"

    I, too, feel we should ban gestation rates.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Sandra

      They fixed the typo.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Joyful Friar

        The typo is still on the front page for me. One of the funnier typos I've seen in a while, btw.

        June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Yup I did

    After reading this article, I went and choked a chicken. Somebody stop me.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Sandra zaninovich

      After reading your comment I threw up a little in my mouth.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • vegan chef

      I hope it was yours and not a little boys...

      June 11, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  19. Steve

    This is likely George Bush's fault.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  20. Beaver beater

    I heard that JMV's ex-girlfriend reported her to the Humane Society of the United States for trying to eat her beaver.

    But beaver abuse is ok if you've got your own television show, right Jane?

    June 8, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Janet Licker

      I say close the lid on JVM while she is dumpster diving,throw in a couple of pigs to join her and we will see who comes out on top.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Steve

      I've eaten many a beaver in my day, and have never been reported to any Societies. I prefer the shaved variety.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  21. Lobster Good

    If people (especially your lazy, oversized kids) would quit sitting in front of their computers all day typing crap on JVM's blog, playing video games and actually go outside and play- like kids used to do- obesity rates would plummet.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • FAT KIDS

      I'm not fat, I've got a gland problem.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  22. Oscar Pitchfork

    NO, Pigs are not People (unless you think way, way less of yourself than most, and that's ok) pigs are ANIMALS! All you blithering morons out there in your "Gee,-I-wish-things-were-this-way universe just can't abide the fact that we USE THINGS! We eat cattle, pigs, sheep, birds and the like. Animals are not conscious of their own existence or mortality-they live second-to-second, not aware of lifespan, dangers or the farmer walking up to them with a gun. It's been this way foro thousands of years, and now, because every idiot with an opinion now has a sounding board, they think they have a legitimate cause. Well, YOU DON'T! Just because a hundred thousand idiots want to re-name fish "Sea Kittens" doesn't mean the idea has any merit-it just means "wow, I had no idea there were so many dumb-a$$e$ in the world" and, from these posts, most of you are in that group.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Crispy pork rinds

      I completely agree with you Oscar. All the bleeding hearts need to go to the farm and interview the pigs and see what answers they get.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

      I like a good pork roast with mashed potatoes and carrots. I like bacon with my eggs in the morning. I like a good thick pork chop with fresh green beans and cool summer salad. I like pork sausage and pasta with a cream sauce. I like beef too, and chicken. I've eaten a duck before with wild rice . I like seafood, all kinds of it. I like vegetables too. I don't like food zealots, they taste like crap.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • kc

      They all suffer the same. Just because we have done it for so long doesnt make it right. We have also waged war, enslaved and done many horrible things so they should continue too? When you have a heart attack (bill clinton went veg due to it as my thin and fit father after triple bypass surgery) you may wake up or at least get what you deserve. Its all unnecessary today, evolve.

      June 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
      • Seriously

        You have got to be kidding me. Look, it's a crop. If you don't like the way the crop is grown, don't eat it. I don't eat pork myself, but if I did I really don't think I could complain about how we get enough of it to feed all the people who want it. And yes, I could eat only what some food nazi wants me to eat because they like what they eat and think everyone else should only eat what they eat because they like it. But, maybe I don't like what the food nazi likes. I don't ask them to eat my food. Why are they always trying to push their food down my throat? And where do we draw the line? Wheat is alive! Don't kill it for food. Do you know that corn is forced to live in unnatural rows all it's life and that those rows are for the SOLE CONVENIENCE of the killer (I mean farmer). It's barbaric!

        June 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
        • Brenda Sellers

          What a stupid response. You're comparing a living thing, like a pig, cattle, etc., to wheat. Wheat does not have a brain, a heart, or any intelligence. If you want to compare a living thing to a plant you need to rethink your position.

          June 9, 2012 at 12:59 am |
        • Pablo

          Sure they should be treated humanely however, your definition of humane is insane. They are not people.

          They need food, water and shelter. Sure they should wander around when NOT about to give birth, but the week or so before they need to be caged and the weeks afterwards.

          I don't know what you uninformed people are complaining about. The farms I have seen dairy and pig are human and use breeding crates to PROTECT the pigs and piglets.

          The sows when pregnant at the farm I visited this month wander outside in several fenced in grassy enclosures with water/mud wallows and electrically heated shelter for winter. Yes large industrial farms might use more enclosures but I doubt they keep every pig there every day of their life. It doesn't make sense to keep pregnant pigs in them. You put the pigs about to give birth in them.

          June 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Joe

      Humans are ANIMALS. We're mammals to be more specific. Have you not taken biology in school?

      June 9, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • Joe

      Oscar, under your criteria for rights, we would be eating and experimenting on people in comas, those with alzheimer's, and the severely mentally disabled. You clearly have not thought this through. Also, non-human animals are well aware of danger, it's why hunters need guns to kill them...yes, many of them actually run away from you, or try to hide, when threatened (if they are not penned into a gestation crate that is). Your logic needs practice, do some sodoku or something!

      June 9, 2012 at 6:44 am |
      • Pablo

        The problem is you have live away from REAL nature and the reality of the world for too long in your suburban or city life.

        June 9, 2012 at 9:37 am |
        • Sandra zaninovich

          Pablo you are the one who is completely disengaged from reality if you truly believe that any vestiges still exist of the idyllic "nature" conditions you mention. Nowadays it's all factory farms, all the time, and the fact that they even use the word "farms" would actually be pretty hysterically funny if it weren't so tragic.

          June 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
        • Kyle

          In response to Sandra. I have lived on a farm all my life and it is by no means a factory farm. You clearly gain all of your information from CNN opinion pages. The fact of the matter is, pigs do not spend all that much time in these crates! Another thing I find funny is that anytime someone brings up this point, there is no logical argument to refute it. Please stop acting like you are an expert on the subject just as the author of this essay did.

          June 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  23. Candee Gordon

    Jane, you are truly an angel and hero to the animals who suffer. I watch your show all the time now because I saw you had the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) about this terrible torture and the pigs suffering from this horrible abuse in gestation crates. I watched this show. I also saw your show when the Organizer for "Last Chance for Animals" was on about exporting animals from Australia and the horrifying abuse and torture they go through as well. I will continue to always be a fan of yours because of your love for animals and providing these organization a forum to spread awareness to the public of these horrors. You have a big heart and we love you Jane. Keep up the wonderful work!!!

    June 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  24. Pork Producer Fan

    Many issues were introduced in Ms. Velez-Mitchel's article. America does have an obesity issue. How is it due to the production practices of swine farmers? America's obesity issue is due to their preoccupation with processed foods, and McDonalds is reaping the benefits. Ms. Velez-Mitchel and everyother blogger that has taken a stance against gestation crates needs to work on a farm.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  25. Arch Stanton

    RE: "I was so grateful because I have witnessed the horror. One look at a pig gestation crate and you will know exactly what I mean."

    What farm did you visit? When I read these statements I have to ask because did you also talk with the farmer? Did you learn about why stalls actually help save the lives of sows? Did you meet the farm hands that help care for the sows?

    Just asking.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Sandra zaninovich

      Arch I'm having such a fun moment just now imagining you about a century and a half ago, wondering whether the plantation owners had been asked about whether it's right or wrong to torture slaves, or even keep them. I'm sure you would have whole-heartedly approved of their responses, because people like you, lacking compassion to the core, unfortunately have always existed and will always exist. Let's just hope that, like the slave owners, you're soon relegated to the minority.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
      • Your English Teacher

        What do pigs have to do with slaves. These obscene references and comparisons are totally without merit. Surely you can come up with something better.

        June 10, 2012 at 10:44 am |
        • Sandra Z

          Your ignorance is showing once again, teach. Pigs ARE slaves! And they are treated far, far worse than most human slaves ever were (or are, since they exist still in this wonderful world of ours). Just as the world's eyes were opened to the horror of slavery and thankfully most of it was abolished, so now the eyes of the world are being opened to what really goes on behind the sealed and bolted doors of the factory farms which have supplanted most of the family-owned farms. If you have an ounce of intelligence or heart, you should be fervently hoping that this leads to whole-sale changes in their slavery conditions too.

          June 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  26. Tanya Acker

    I DO eat meat, and don't want my bacon raised like this – and it's just wrong anyway. Great piece Jane.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Oscar Pitchfork

      Rememebr that, when the bacon you're eating costs a couple of bucks per slice...

      June 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    Why do vegetarians eat animal flavored products. You know, like vegetarian bacon, vegetarian hamburgers, etc. ? I know they are not flavored by animal byproducts, but they are made to taste like meat.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Sandra Gallagher


      June 8, 2012 at 11:01 am |

        Hey Sandra: I was just asking a question, geesh, don't go nuts about this.

        June 8, 2012 at 11:08 am |
        • Seriously

          Too late.

          June 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Dude

      Good question.

      I suppose if I was born and raised as a vegetarian, my tastes would have developed differently. As it is, I became a vegetarian when I was about 25 years old. Over time I have found or created a number of vegetarian dishes that do not resemble meat dishes. But, I still enjoy foods that I grew up with. Veggie burgers etc.

      Morningstar Farms chick'n strips meal starter is great in stir fry, soup, salads etc. Their Bacon strips, on the other hand, are only slightly tastier than the packaging they came in.

      After being a vegetarian for 27 years, about 25% of my meals are vegetarian substitutions.

      Also, there are a number of veggie burgers that are not intended to taste at all like a hamburger. It's just a convenience to have a pre-made round patty that cam be microwaved and thrown on a bun.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Sandra Z

      There is nothing wrong with liking the taste of meat, if there is no cruelty or murder of an innocent, sentient being behind it. I'm sure most of us would like the taste of human flesh (cannibals have reported that it closely resembles veal). No one objects to the TASTE of meat, it's the murder we object to.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  28. jlf

    thanks for such an informative article! another inumane practice exposed. disgusting and disgraceful.

    June 8, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Bobber

      Greed rears its ugly head once again.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  29. scmaize

    Jane, please tell us how to make our voices heard, to let the industry know this torture of animals must stop.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Seriously

      Go to a local hog farm and fart at the owner.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
      • Sandra Z

        As for you, "Seriously," why don't you grow a brain before putting words in front of the world which seriously embarrass you?

        June 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  30. den roberts

    JANE VELEZ MITCHEL IS AWESOME.....SO great that she does this kind of issue.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  31. john

    great article. i agree 100%. this is obscene and unatural.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  32. Rabbitats

    Thank you for writing this!!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  33. Sarah

    Thanks for writing about this, I hope they put an end to this cruel practice as soon as possible, pigs are incredibly intelligent creatures and shouldn't live a tortured life!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  34. Elaine Livesey-Fassel

    I join the above listeners/viewers who applaud Ms. Mitchell for her always stimulating appraisals of the vital litany of concerns animal advocates find so repellent from horse slaughter to puppy mills and here the loathsome factory farming industry. The crowded conditions of chickens, pigs and cattle are not only cruel and totally unnatural, but unhealthy for animal, slaughter worker and consummer. Antibotics , and other substances, must be fed to these creatures to fatten and sustain them thereby compromising national healthwhile ever fast kill lines harm workers and renders many animals still sensible to the knife. We are learning that there is indeed no CHEAP meat since the end product too often produces obesity in the comsumer which is burdenening our medical system and the only immediate winner is bigAG. Ms. Mitchell outlines all these concerns in no uncertain terms and her information is invaluable to all who consider themselves humane and desirous of a healthy body and healthy community. We must reform this system before it does even more damage! Thank you, Jean for leading the way to a kinder and better understanding of how to live a good and healthy life.

    June 7, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  35. Rachel

    Jane!!! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  36. wendy huntbatch

    These farmers are not brain dead, they know that what they do is obscene cruelty. They do it for money. They are exactly the same as the humans who run puppy mills or parrot mills – they only care about money. Thank you for bringing this to the public eye Jane. Amazingly enough a lot of meat eaters haven't a clue where it comes from. You would be amazed when city kids go to dairy farms and learn where milk comes from.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Seriously

      Stinkin' farmers! What should we do with them?

      June 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • Sandra Z

        Your ignorance is showing once again, "Seriously." If you "seriously" believe that the people who run these factories are farmers in the way we once knew the word, you have your head buried in sand so deep it's probably somewhere in China by now.

        June 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  37. Tanya Acker

    Excellent piece Jane. Not only is it wrong to treat living creatures so inhumanly, but unhealthy, unhappy animals are a nasty business in the human body. Tortured meat is just not that good for you. (you may also think NO meat is good for you, but on that we'll agree to disagree...:-)

    June 7, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Oscar Pitchfork

      Do you even begin to understand the gross stupidity of the phrase "treating animals inhumanly"? Why not just go full circle dumba$$ and say "treating those animals, like well, ANIMALS!"?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Joe

        Humans are animals Oscar. Why have our school systems failed you so miserably. Humans are primates! Look it up in a children's book.

        June 9, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • quantumelf

      Hey Pitchfork, I would love to catch you alone in an alley

      June 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
      • Seriously

        Well, you're kind of cute yourself, big boy.

        June 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  38. Haley

    Thank you SO much for this crucial article and giving a voice to these beautiful animals. Factory farms are inherently cruel, gruesome, and horrible for the environment as well as the millions who unknowingly support their continued abuse of animals and consume disease-causing products. Out with gestation crates!!!

    June 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Seriously

      Crucial! Absolutely crucial!

      June 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  39. julie derby

    as a political science major i want to state that gestation crates are the most abusive brutal issue in america- ( battery cages for hens maybe worse) hard to know due to these lovely cratures being unable to talk with us- but thanks to CNN for taking this horror so seriously to continue to expose it... for photos of Minnesota farm animals suffering go to
    photos – defendingfarmanimals.org go vegan to save the planet from climate change also... see The United Nations scientific study exposing animal agriculture as the biggest contributer to global warming.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Janet

      Julie, it must be a very poor research: IF you believe in Global Warming, it is know that HUMANS contribute the most to global warming. By blaming a small portion of the population (agriculture) you can feel better that it is not your fault.

      June 8, 2012 at 1:24 am |
      • Sandra Z

        Janet, read "Diet For A New America" by John Robbins. He was one of the heirs to Baskin-Robbins and saw first hand the destruction dairy farms and other agri practices wreak on the world. It would behoove you to educate yourself first before posting general comments which are just embarrassing in their ignorance.

        June 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
        • Janet

          Sandria... Put down the Starbucks, leave the high rise and get your hands dirty. Writing or reading a book doesn’t mean it is true. People who do the work every day feeding the world know the truth. So don’t tell me “general comments which are just embarrassing in their ignorance.” when your soul job is criticizing others work .

          June 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Seriously

      As a Political Science major??

      June 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  40. Margie



    Learn to research and cite sources next time. It's a pity so many otherwise rational people believe this load of crap.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  41. Yana Mikhaylov, MD

    Important, eye-opening article, Jane. Every pig in such a gestation-crate is somebody's mother and no one should be subjected to this cruel and unusual torture. Factory-farming is out of line with our fundamental values. Thank you CNN for your courage, integrity, and uncompromising transparency in keeping us informed on issues we as Americans have the right to know – and care deeply about.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  42. Elaine Livesey-Fassel

    I proudly join all the above commentators who applaud Jean Valez Mitchelll who has been casting the spotlight on animal cruelty in all its many permutations – and there are MANY – for some years now! We are a tribal and lethal species as media reports and none more so than to the animals we look upon as 'food product' whom we kill in the billions every year! Some of us have the capacity for compassion and live accordingly. Ms. Mitchell and many worthy groups educate and encourage us to better behaviors and for her and those I am deeply grateful. We can lead healthy and satisfying lives without treating animals as we do . Surely that must be the goal!

    June 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Seriously

      Surely. That must be the goal. Sounds like white people's problems to me.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
      • Sandra Z

        Seriously, "Seriously," you and your ignorant ilk sound like a problem for all people, everywhere.

        June 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  43. Youth Empowered Action

    I am so grateful that Jane Velez-Mitchell sheds light on the cruelty running rampant on today's factory farms, which agribusiness works very hard to keep hidden. Pigs are smarter than dogs, and keeping them in crates barely larger than their bodies, in which they cannot even turn around for their entire lives is egregiously cruel. Many countries and states, recognizing this, have banned gestation crates, and the pork industry as well as every meat retailer in the country should join the long list of companies (Kroger, Safeway, and many more) to boycott farms that use gestation crates.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  44. Amanda

    Thank you for this article! I completely agree, although it may take some time to build the new facilities, 10 years is excessive. I am also afraid that because of having so long to switch over the factory "farmers" will not do ANYTHING until about 9.5 years from now & then claim they do not have enough time to transition & ask for an extension.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  45. Mike

    Been a Vegan for 30 years since my back began to fail on me and several other medical issues emerged. It was recommended to me by a Dr of all things. Since then all problems have cleared up and at 73, with my Vegan diet and exercise, I have maintained a very low cholesterol level as well as a 32 waist...while the rest of my friends in both my age group and younger are tubbys with man tits. Saving the planet and my health. Worth switching.
    Also GREEEEAT food choices and recipes and Vegan restaurants.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Seriously

      Wow. I have a 32 waist, too. But I eat steak. Can we still be friends?

      June 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  46. Ed Buck

    It's sad that the 11% more efficient argument was what changed corporate behavior regarding the move away from the crates. It's like screw the humanity, how much money can we make.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Seriously

      Because farmers should be philanthropists. How much of your workday do you expect to get paid for? All of it?!? You must be joking! Where's your sense of humanity?

      June 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  47. Rory Freedman

    You don't have to a be a vegan, animal rights activist, or even an animal lover to know there is something wrong with confining an animal, torturing her, and then brutally killing her. I'm so thankful Jane Velez-Mitchell is willing to shine on a light in a very dark corner and educate the masses about who our food is.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Seriously

      Don't forget frying her up in a pan and serving her up with some hash browns and good strong black coffee.

      June 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  48. trudy

    thanx jane for all you do for animal rights!!

    June 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
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