Friday, July 12, 2013

Pigs in Cages, with a Side of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, for Your Delectation

Pig virus migrates to U.S., threatens pork prices. (CBS News, 7/10/2013)

Excerpt:  The virus has been confirmed in about 200 hog facilities [265 as of 6/17/2013] in 14 other states including Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota, according to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

The article notes that at least two large production facilities have seen outbreaks.

See also
Pig Farmers Face Pressure on the Size of the Sty.  (The New York Times, 10/5/2012)

Excerpt:   Sow 44733 had broken the shoulder of one of her pen mates, rousted another who was huddled in the corner and was chewing on the ear of a third. Enlarge This Image A sow with her piglets. The Dittmers say that none of the 500 piglets that are born at Grandview Farm each day are confined to crates.
Other sows in the pen sported abrasions, torn ears and bloody tail stumps — all souvenirs of her attentions. 

It was that kind of behavior that led hog farmers like Tom Dittmer to isolate sows in individual stalls called gestation crates that are barely bigger than the pigs themselves.

Counterpoint:  "Life for Young Pigs:  Cruel Confinement".  (Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary).

The 2nd New York Times article notes two particularly large operations:  18,000 sows at the Hord farm in Ohio; 6,000 sows at the Grandview farm in Iowa.

Neither farm, it should be noted, has had a problem with the virus, at least as far as I know, but they can certainly be classified as "large production facilities".

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