Up in Sonoma County—the same bucolic northern California county where foie gras activists have threatened French chefs and charcuterie makers—the pig farmers of industry biggie CorcPork, Inc. have been hit by a lawsuit from the Animal Legal Defense League and the East Bay Animal Advocates.
Their beef? The confinement of pregnant and nursing sows in “farrowing crates,” which are narrow metal cages too small to allow the pigs to turn around. They are so small, in fact, that the pig can’t do much of anything beside stand in place. The state’s leading pork packer, Clougherty Packing Co., a subsidary of Hormel, is also named in the suit. Clougherty sells bacon and sausages under the Farmer John label.
As quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, the suit alleges that “roughly 9,000 of CorcPork’s pregnant sows are crammed into small stalls on concrete floors amid their own feces without being able to take a step.” Without denying the existence of the pens—which are common practice on industrial farms—Clougherty spokesperson Steve Duchesne responds, “This is the continuation of the seemingly endless attacks by these extreme animal rights organizations against responsible livestock farmers.”