Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Shocking conditions of pig farms

The Daily Mail have published harrowing photographs of a pig farm that show pigs crammed into tiny wire cages and pregnant sows trapped in small farrowing crates where they don’t even have space to turn around.

Pork produced from this farm displays the Red Tractor logo.

As George Monbiot has previously pointed out, the Red Tractor logo shouldn’t assure any consumers that they’re buying quality meat products. The animal welfare standards required are minimal.

Viva’s website has filmed footage from the pig farm which makes distressing viewing. Yet the key point is that these nightmarish conditions are completely legal.

As Monbiot asked:

How is it that we, who regard ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, accept such terrible standards of meat production?

David Cameron’s former adviser Steve Hilton took issue with consumers of meat and dairy products being misled on a daily basis. Writing in his book More Human, he asked:

Why is it acceptable for my milk carton to feature images of cows meandering on grassy hills when they’re actually confined inside and fed unhealthy diets of corn and soy? Why is it acceptable for chickens certified as ‘free-range’ to be held captive indoors for half of their lives?

He proposed the following policy as a solution:

Any food product must have a reasonable proportion of its packaging devoted to showing the precise conditions it was made in. A pack of frozen chicken nuggets would have a photo of the actual farm the chicken came from.

He added the requirement that:

Every part of every facility of every factory farm and every food factory be live-streamed on the internet so people can see exactly what’s going on and track their food if they want to.

It’s only our blindness to the horrors of factory farming, and our disconnection from its reality, that allows the horror to continue. Honest and clear labelling could kickstart a consumer revolution.