This story is sponsored by the Minnesota Pork Board.
This is the second piece in a three part series from the Minnesota Pork Board. In the next and final article, we will be answering your questions. Leave a comment, tweet us @MinnesotaPork, post a question on the Minnesota Pork Facebook page (link to https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaPork) or send us an inquiry via www.Pig3D.com to have your questions included.
By Laurie Kesteloot
I’m a pig farmer and I’m an animal activist. When your livelihood is dependent upon raising pigs you become acutely aware and passionate about caring for animals and ensuring that their needs are met. Some of my expertise comes from training, but much of it comes from knowledge that I have gained spending day in and day out with pigs.
As farmers, my family and I have an ethical responsibility to provide our animals with the highest level of care possible. We invest hours in training, ongoing education, and certification because we put our animal’s care first … always. Our goal is to create the most comfortable living environment that we can for our animals. This involves ensuring our pigs are fed the best quality feeds, are healthy and free from disease, and live in clean climate-controlled environments. We strive to raise healthy pigs because we know this provides the most nutritious and highest quality pork for our consumers. Like many of our fellow farmers, this is what pig farming means to us.
I’m here to pull back the curtain on our farm and share another perspective. There are some parts of pig farming that can seem off-putting or even inhumane to those who haven’t spent a lot of time around pigs. But with every decision we make on our farm we refer back to our main priority — caring for and raising pigs. One topic around caring for the animals that I get asked about quite often is the housing of the pigs.
There is no proven “right way” to house pigs, so the method used is an individual decision of the farmer. While some farmers choose to raise their animals indoors and others keep them outside, all farms are designed to keep the animals safe. One of the key reasons we choose to raise our pigs inside barns is to protect them from the extreme weather here in Minnesota. Our barns are designed to ensure that we are able to closely care for each pig so that any issues can be addressed before a problem affects the entire herd. The use of gestation stalls and farrowing crates also has benefits and challenges. Farmers choosing to use gestation stalls are able to give the sows the individual attention they need, and farrowing crates increase the safety of the sows and their piglets.
As part of our commitment to the animals we raise, we want to constantly improve. We never want to be complacent, but always look for ways to do things better.