MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 07/11/13 -- Canadian actor and director Ryan Gosling has teamed up with Farm Sanctuary and Humane Society International/Canada to improve the lives of more than one million breeding pigs on Canadian farms. Gosling has penned a piece in the Globe and Mail calling on the National Farm Animal Care Council to completely eliminate the use of gestation crates in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs.
Gestation crates are metal cages that tightly confine breeding pigs to the point where the animals cannot even turn around for nearly their entire lives. These cages are currently standard in pork production, but a new draft Code of Practice, released by NFACC on June 1, calls for a partial ban of their use. In its current form, however, the draft standard would allow breeding pigs to be immobilized in gestation crates for up to five weeks at a time every pregnancy cycle - adding up to nearly a third of their gestation period.
In his opinion piece, Gosling writes, "I applaud NFACC for working to improve life for Canada's pigs, and hope it will close this dangerous loophole by disallowing the pork industry from confining pigs for weeks at a time-something that I would never dream of doing to (my dog,) George, and that no compassionate Canadian would ever do to any animal."
Bruce Friedrich, advocacy director for Farm Sanctuary explains, "Cramming animals in crates for five weeks at a time is cruel, whether that animal is a dog or a pig, as Ryan's Globe and Mail piece makes clear. We applaud Ryan both for the bond he has with George and also for extending his compassion to all animals."
Sayara Thurston, campaigner for HSI/Canada states, "We encourage NFACC and Canadian producers to move the pork industry towards being a global leader in animal welfare, including a phase out of gestation crate confinement during all parts of the animal's pregnancy-a reform that Canadians and major retailers support."
The new Code of Practice will take effect in 2014, at which time the construction of new gestation crate operations throughout Canada would be prohibited. These confinement systems have come under fire from veterinarians, family farmers, animal welfare advocates, legislators, scientists, consumers and food retailers.
-- A recent national poll in Canada showed that 84 percent of Canadians support a complete phase out of the use of these confinement systems.
-- More than one million breeding sows are kept on Canadian farms, the majority of them currently confined in cages known as gestation crates.
-- Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is clear on this issue: "Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life." Grandin further states, "We've got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go."
-- More than 60 of North America's largest pork buyers, including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Tim Hortons have made commitments eliminating gestation crates from their supply chains within the next two-to-nine years. Meanwhile, many family farmers have been raising pigs without the use of gestation crates for generations.
-- In April, the Retail Council of Canada and eight of Canada's largest grocery chains committed to sourcing fresh pork products from alternatives to gestation crates over the next nine years.
-- Leading North American pork producers Smithfield, Hormel, Olymel and Maple Leaf Foods have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities. Meanwhile, many family farmers have been raising pigs without the use of gestation crates for generations.
-- Nine U.S. states and the European Union have passed laws to ban the continual gestation crate confinement of breeding pigs.
Farm Sanctuary operates three shelters in New York and California that provide lifelong care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals, works to change laws to decrease abuse of farm animals, and promotes compassionate vegan living - on the Web at FarmSanctuary.org.
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation, farm animal welfare and animals in research. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International which, together with its partners, constitutes one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide - on the Web at hsicanada.ca.
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