Factory farms raise their pigs in small pens on concrete floors. This method keeps the pig from moving around and burning up calories so that there is a higher conversion rate of feed to meat-in other words-fatty meat and lots of it. Female pigs spend most of their lives in "gestation crates" which are two foot wide metal cages, barely larger than their body. This restricts freedom of movement making normal behavior impossible. Female pigs housed in this manner exhibit severe stress and neurotic coping behaviors.
Most European countries have banned gestation crates. In the United States, several states such as Florida have also banned these inhumane crates, yet there are others such as North Carolina that still allow the factories to use these crates as part of their operation.
These intensive factory farms allow thousands of animals to be crammed together in huge factory warehouses. The animals produce toxic waste (manure and carcasses) which is stored in toxic "lagoons." This waste pollutes surface and ground water which kills wildlife and damages the health of local citizens. To see how these factory farms truly operate please go to www.pigbusiness.co.uk.
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We raise Berkshires which is the most sought after pork in the world. Until recently almost all Berkshire Pork was exported to Japan where it is a delicacy compared to Kobe Beef. We take raising our pigs a step further,they are raised outside in the woods and pasture where they roam free and have lots of various items to choose to eat. The pigs are supplemented by grain, however, they prefer to root and dig up roots, bugs, eat grass, eat clover( where the saying comes from happy as a pig in clover), acorns and other things found in nature.
A University of Iowa taste test ranked Berkshire pork number 1 in 22 of the 24 traits that influence tenderness. All research has shown that Berkshire pork has finer marbling than other pork. Berkshire pork is not" the other white meat," a slogan Smithfield came up with when pork was steadily losing ground to chicken. On the contrary, Berkshire pork is what pork is suppose to be, a darker richer color.
It has only been recently that small family farms have started raising Berkshires for their customers; prior to that it was only served at top restaurants. Tom Boyce, Chef de cuisine at Spago in Beverly Hills, California says, "It's definitely one of our favorite things to cook out here." Michael Caplan, Chef at Strata in New York says Berkshire Pork "has a natural juiciness to it that you can't compare to any other pork."