Factory Farming

Gestation Crates

Though the use of gestation crates is already banned in Sweden and the United Kingdom, and is being phased out throughout the European Union due to welfare concerns with a total ban effective in 2013, these crates remain a customary pig husbandry practice in the United States.   However, several states and even the nation’s largest pork producer have taken a stand against their usage:

Ballot Initiatives:

  • In November 2002, for the first time in U.S. history, Florida citizens voted against the use of gestation crates. The ban went into effect in 2008.
  • Four years later, in 2006, Arizona voters passed a humane ballot initiative entitled the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, phasing out gestation crates for pregnant sows by 2013.
  • In November, 2008, California overwhelmingly passed The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act; it will phase out the use of gestation crates, veal crates, and battery cages by 2015. 

Other Legislation:

In 2007, Oregon illegalized gestation crates.
In 2008, Colorado passed a law prohibiting veal and gestation crates.
In 2009, Michigan passed a law prohibiting veal and gestation crates, and battery cages for egg-laying hens.
in 2010, Ohio agreed to phase out veal and gestation crates, and battery cages for egg-laying hens.
In 2011, Maine outlawed veal and gestation crates.
Most recently, Rhode Island passed a law prohibiting veal and gestation crates, and tail docking of cattle.

Other Successes:

In early 2007, the nation's largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods Inc., announced plans to phase out gestation crates at all of their breeding pig farms over the next decade.  Many corporate successes followed.  To see a timeline of progress on farm animal protection issues, visit The Humane Society's website

Unfortunately, the National Pork Producers Council points to the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) position on gestation crates as a way to justify these cruel confinement systems and to stifle movement towards industry reform.  To learn more and then write to the AVMA and express your opinion over their position, go to the AVMA website