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Cut to the Chase: On animal welfare, let the experts decide

By Chris Chinn

My family was part of the “Ag Pizza Party” in support of Domino’s Pizza. The company recently announced it would rely on animal experts, not animal activist groups, to define the best way to raise farm animals for food production.
As a farmer, I respect Domino’s for having common sense in trusting the experts in animal care.
When we picked up our pizza after a 45-minute drive, we left a thank-you card letting the manager know we valued Domino’s support for farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and nutritionists. Our family relies on them, and not just as animal-care specialists; they are a part of our management team. They know our farm and family and they help us customize our livestock care. Every farm is different, just as every person and breed of animal is.
Our family has been raising livestock for five generations. It’s a tradition we’re proud of and we hope our children will have a chance to follow in our path. Our animals rely on us seven days a week. We do this no matter the hour of the day or the day of the week. Animal care is a top priority for us, and that’s why we rely on our veterinarian, nutritionist and other animal experts when it comes to the daily care for our hogs and cattle.
We use gestation stalls on our farm to protect our pregnant sows from larger, more aggressive “bully sows.” The stalls also allow us to monitor the feed each sow receives and tailor nutritional needs individually. If a sow isn’t eating, we know it right away and can prevent problems and we can give each sow hands-on care daily in the stalls. Our animals are well-cared for, content and comfortable. Until the animal experts we work with tell us there is a better way, we will continue to protect and care for our sows in this way.
With the onslaught of animal-rights activism in the marketplace, the decision by Domino’s speaks volumes to me as a farmer. It shows the company trusts the experts I trust. And it shows they trust me. I appreciate that.

Chris Chinn is a hog farmer in Clarence, Mo.

3 Responses to Cut to the Chase: On animal welfare, let the experts decide

  1. Stephen

    September 7, 2012 at 10:12 am

    For those interested, here is a PDF containing 7 pages of opinion from animal experts and scientists. In Chris Chinn’s own words, these are the opinions that should drive procedure.
    http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/HSUS-Synopsis-of-Expert-Opinions-on-Gestation-Crates-and-Sow-Welfare.pdf

  2. Rosemary Marshall

    September 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    How can these “experts” be right when the gestation crate does not allow the sow any of the behavioural activity developed by the species over thousands of years?

    Your own US expert Temple Grandin deplores these cages and states that they must go. I submit that this lady professor knows what she is talking about.

  3. Emily Harris

    September 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Like any leftist, Animal Rights people believe that everything is wrong unless they condone it for their own practice. HSUS is such a place. The link above is a one-side presentation of how they believe a hog farm should be run. Sadly, it is only one way. Hogs are aggressive animals that are food possessive and have a herd hierarchy where the less aggressive animals are always the last for everything and have their young killed by the more aggressive. When you run a herd of hogs “as they should be” you have to be very careful that you align the members of the herd that will get along together and destroy the others OR send them to slaughter for the sausage they will produce. The problem is, that with a herd you always have a dominate member so you are always having to send hogs to slaughter, your vet bills go up because of treatment of fight inflicted wounds, your fields are destroyed for 10-20 years of only hog use, your fence expense skyrockets because of the damage they do to fences, and the costs keep going up. All this time your pig production goes down because animals that are stressed will not produce the large numbers in a litter and the runts, plus others, will end up dead because of the fights incurring among the adults due to this “natural” herd environment the Animal Rights people claim.
    I would like to take these people and put them down in Arkansas and watch the feral hogs. Sows with litters DO NOT run with a herd. They keep them away from the other hogs. The hogs that run in these feral herds are dangerous animals that will kill small deer and calves to eat them. This is the “Natural” environment of a hog. A mean, dangerous, aggressive animal who we like to eat in the form of bacon, sausage, pork chops, pulled pork, BBQ pork, ham hocks n’ beans, etc.
    True Animal Science Experts, who are in the field to protect our rights to produce and consume meat, know all of this and developed an alternative way where the sows are happy, well-fed and taken care of. Remember when I said that only a non-stressed animal will produce? Well, sows kept in gestation crates will produce on an average of 2 to 3 more piglets in a litter than ones kept in a “natural” environment.
    Gestation crates are no more “abusive” then a herd. These are two different methods of keeping hogs. Both are there to offer a choice to the producer and to the consumer.
    Instead of letting the Animal Rights “Experts” tell us what to do, why don’t we leave it up to the producers and consumers. I love pork. I want it where I can afford to buy and eat it. I want to keep this right.

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