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How Pigs Are Treated on Factory Farms (Trigger Warning)

Please be advised that the following article contains content that some readers may find distressing. The article discusses the topic of animal abuse and suffering, including graphic descriptions of cruel treatment and harm inflicted on animals in factory farming. Readers who have experienced trauma related to animal abuse may find this content triggering. If you need support, please reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or a mental health professional. Pigs are intelligent and complex animals with distinct personalities, yet those born on factory farms suffer countless forms of mutilation, abuse, and neglect. In this article, we'll explore what millions of pigs raised for food experience on these farms. Gestation Crates

Female pigs, or sows, are repeatedly impregnated through artificial insemination on factory farms, giving birth to litters of up to 12 piglets. Throughout their pregnancies and after giving birth, mother pigs are kept in "gestation crates." These crates are so small that the pigs can barely move or turn around, preventing them from exhibiting their natural behaviors. Studies show that mother pigs, like human mothers, care for their babies, but on factory farms, they lack the materials to do so. They become distressed when separated from their babies, which happens when piglets are taken away at just 3 weeks old, whereas in nature, mother pigs nurse their babies for 10-to-17 weeks. This cruel separation is standard in the pork industry, where these pigs are seen as machines built for profit. Castration

Male piglets are castrated with a scalpel or knife shortly after being born, usually without any pain relief. This process is traumatic for the piglets, who often will lie alone and trembling for days following the procedure. Although the cruelty of this castration is undeniable, meat producers claim that it is necessary to improve the smell and taste of their meat. This pain and suffering are inflicted on intelligent animals to make a product seem more appealing to consumers. Tail Docking

When confined in crowded spaces on factory farms, pigs become stressed and may exhibit compulsive behaviors, such as biting their own tails. Instead of giving pigs more room, meat producers resort to cutting off each pig's tail without anesthetic in a process known as “tail-docking.” This mutilation is horrifying, as these animals have sensitive body parts amputated without any pain relief. Ear Notching

To identify each pig, workers cut off sensitive parts of their ears to create patterns in a process known as "ear notching." The notches are cut into a pig's right ear to represent their litter number and their left ear to represent the individual pig's number. This cruel practice demonstrates how companies view animals as products in an assembly line. Transport

Factory farmed pigs are genetically manipulated to grow so quickly that they reach “market weight” when they are only 6 months old, causing arthritis and the inability to walk or stand. They are loaded onto crowded trucks and transported to slaughterhouses, enduring trips that can take over 28 hours. They suffer in extreme weather conditions without any water or food, and due to severe overcrowding, they also have no room to rest. Slaughter

A typical slaughterhouse kills more than 1,000 baby pigs every hour. The pigs are stunned before their throats are slit open, left to bleed out, and then dipped into scalding water to remove their hair. However, the speed of the slaughter lines makes it nearly impossible to ensure every pig is properly stunned before slaughter. Many pigs are able to see, hear, and smell the pigs around them being killed, and some will be boiled alive when they reach the scalding tanks. Conclusion Gentle, sweet, smart, and curious pigs endure horrible abuses throughout their lives in the meat industry, from the day they're born to the day they're violently slaughtered. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By switching to compassionate, plant-based alternatives, you can stop contributing to this broken system that ravages thousands of pigs every day.

Get your free plant-based eating starter kit at and be the change for animals today.



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