Target: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Stop pigs from being painfully castrated.
Young piglets have parts of their genitals torn out by factory workers, and there is little doubt that this causes them a tremendous amount of pain. The castration of pigs is a painful technique designed to curb aggressive behavior and improve the taste of the meat, but it is often done without the use of anesthesia. Farms undoubtedly omit anesthesia because it is just another expense, but the pig experiences immeasurable pain and misery throughout its short life.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, castration is usually conducted in the first few days of life, because it is believed that the pain is not as extreme when the animal is young. However, they also note that the data do not seem to support this belief; castration is likely to be painful regardless of the age of the animal. Although more research is needed on the nervous system of pigs, we can make the safe assumption that castration is not a pleasant experience for the piglet. Furthermore, there are painless alternatives to this barbaric method. The USDA suggests immunological castration as an alternative to surgical castration. It’s conceivable that, as our technology progresses, other painless and noninvasive procedures will take the place of surgical castration.
Sign this petition to ask the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to put an end to this terrible abuse, and to pursue less painful methods of castration of pigs.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
I was appalled to learn about the surgical castration that is being performed on piglets. The purpose of this procedure is to improve the taste of the meat and curb aggressive behavior in the pigs. However, it is often done without the use of anesthesia, presumably because farm owners don’t want to go to that expense. I worry that this procedure causes the pig too much pain, and I feel that it should be halted pending further research.
Although it is widely believed that the pigs do not experience severe pain in their first few days of life, there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to believe that this is the case. As a consumer, I don’t feel that it’s too much to ask that meat products are processed in a humane way. I ask that you please end this cruel practice and investigate more humane methods of swine castration, such as immunological castration. Together we can ensure that pork products are produced in a humane way.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: A. Sparrow via Flickr