Among other efforts, Ryan Gosling has urged the USDA to stop allowing slaughterhouses to kill chickens and turkeys by slowly suffocating them with foam, and he wrote to the National Milk Producers Federation, calling for an end to painful dehorning of cows through burning or the use of sharp tools.
Now, in an article for The Globe and Mail entitled ‘A tiny cage is not a life,’ Gosling is calling for an end to the cruel confinement of female pigs. A Canadian himself, Gosling applauded Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council’s decision to stop allowing female pigs to be confined to crates for “nearly their entire lives.”
Gosling wrote “Currently, mother pigs are kept in these cages called ‘gestation crates’ for four months while pregnant, moved to another cage to give birth, reimpregnated and put back into a gestation crate for the cycle to repeat. It adds up to years of immobilization and millions of smart, inquisitive animals relegated to iron maidens.”
The actor compared his “beloved dog George” to these thinking and feeling pigs, who he says are also deserving of compassion. “The bond I have with George is not unique. Like me, countless Canadians share their homes and lives with pets they consider to be part of the family. We know that they have individual personalities and quirks (George loves apples, for example) and that they feel both physical and mental pain. Our pets share these traits with other animals; including those we don’t share our lives with, such as farm animals.”
He adds that the use of gestation crates for pregnant female pigs has been widely “criticized by veterinarians, animal protection advocates, consumers and even major food retailers as inhumane and unnecessary,” and that Tim Hortons and sixty other major companies have recently stopped using suppliers that confine pigs to the crates.
Although the council has reduced the time that the pork industry is allowed to confine pregnant pigs, Gosling is calling for further action. He writes, “While NFACC’s progress is important and laudable, there is a major loophole in the code that I hope will be closed. As written, the draft still allows the pork industry to lock pigs in gestation crates for up to five weeks at a time. Over a pig’s short life, which is just four years long, this amounts to about nine months of solitary confinement in a cage so small she can’t even turn her own body around.”
He adds, “I join Farm Sanctuary and Humane Society International in asking that it close this dangerous loophole by prohibiting the pork industry from confining pigs for weeks at a time – something I would never dream of doing to George, and that no compassionate Canadian would ever do to any animal.” – Jennifer Mishler