Target: Rick Pickering, CEO California State Fair
Goal: Provide sows with adequate living space at the California State Fair.
Each year the California State Fair imprisons pregnant sows in barbaric farrowing crates too small for them to turn around or lie comfortably. The pregnant sows are imprisoned for weeks in these small enclosures made of metal slats and bars. They are forced to be on display for the gawking state fair visitors during this extremely stressful time of being pregnant. The sows give birth while on display in these contraptions and are not even allowed the room to clean and nurture their babies as their instinct would guide them. These confinement systems cause undue stress and suffering to the pigs and are downright unnecessary.
The farrowing crate was created in the 1960’s as a means for increasing production numbers of pigs, allowing farmers to house even more pigs in ever smaller enclosures. The farrowing crate is made of small metal bars, much like a jail cell, with metal slats providing a pseudo-floor that allows urine and feces to be cleaned up without moving the animal. Farmer’s defend the farrowing systems claiming that they keep the newborn pigs safe from cannibalism and free from injury from their large mothers. The truth is, when sows are given ample room to roam and nest, baby pigs are not at risk from injury or death due to other pigs. On factory farms, where pigs are crammed into warehouses by the thousands, pigs become extremely stressed and show aggressive behaviors toward others.
During stressful events, such as being on display at the California State Fair, sows should be given ample room to birth and care for their babies properly. The use of farrowing crates is inhumane and should not be allowed at this years state fair. Rick Pickering is now the General Manager and CEO of the California State Fair. Previously, as Alameda’s County Fair CEO, he allowed sows to give birth off site and then return to have 10 foot by 20 foot enclosures filled with hay. Urge Mr. Pickering to allow the same humane treatment for the sows at this year’s State Fair.
Dear Mr. Pickering,
As the new California State Fair CEO and General Manager, we urge you to ban the use of archaic farrowing crates for sows on display at the fair. The practice of crating sows in enclosures so small they cannot move is unnecessary and causes extreme suffering and pain to an animal already under severe stress.
The use of farrowing crates was previously deemed mandatory in the 1960’s when factory farming began and the demand for increased production spawned. However, the barbaric practice of confining a mother pig to a tight fitting jail cell is inhumane and understood to be unnecessary now and should not be given as a housing option to sows forced to endure the weeks of being on display at this years state fair.
We appreciate your managerial decision last year to allow sows at Alameda’s County Fair to give birth off site then be transported to large enclosures with hay and nesting materials. Please show the same compassion to the sows at this years’s California State Fair.
[Your Name Here]