Is confinement the “cruelest manifestation of factory farming?”

pigYesterday, Dr. James McWilliams-a history professor from Texas State University, author of Just Food: How Locavores are Endangering the Future of Food and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, and Johns Hopkins University alum-posted on the New York Times blog Freakonomics. Dr. McWilliams provides an analysis of farrowing crates, which are cages that confine individual lactating female pig. He collects feedback from various farmers to discuss the controversial method of feeding, which some see as cruel factory farming while others argue this method saves the lives of piglets. The blog cites opinions from both sides of the argument.

For example, Dr. McWilliams cites a farmer, Ms. Deanna Quan, who states that she follows all of the Animal Welfare Institute guidelines except for the restriction on farrowing crates. She states that “instead of carrying out buckets of dead baby pigs, I now have a 95 to 98 percent survival rate [because of her use of farrowing crates].” On the contrary, Dr. Temple Grandin, an animal scientist at Colorado State University, states that these crates are similar to a human being “buckled into an airplane seat for six weeks.” Read More >