18.02.2023, 02:35

First Oklahoma Conference on the Humane Treatment of Pigs

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Feb. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OKLAHOMA CITY — Coinciding with National Pig Day on March 1, Kirkpatrick Foundation presents The Oklahoma Conference on the Humane Treatment of Pigs on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Student Center and John E. Kirkpatrick Horticultural Center at OSU-OKC, 900 North Portland Avenue, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

More than 220 million farm animals are raised in Oklahoma each year, and of those, nearly 4 million live in extreme and cruel confinement. Pigs suffer the most with a approximately 470,000 pregnant pigs kept in crates and cages so small the individual animal cannot turn around or stretch its limbs throughout its entire adolescent and adult life.

Mark Essig, author of Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig, will be a keynote speaker at the event, a one-day symposium about the treatment of pigs, the state of CAFO [confined animal feeding operations] agriculture in Oklahoma, and the condition of rural economies in the face of industrial farming. Speakers include Mike Callicrate of Ranch Foods Direct, Dr. Bailey Norwood of Oklahoma State University (co-author of Compassion By the Pound), Will Harris of White Oak Farms, and Jennie Hays of Oliver and Friends Farm Sanctuary. Oklahoma Ambassador Pig “Dora” will make a guest appearance.

“The current industrial use of these crates in CAFOs was adopted as many family farms were taken over by large, corporate farms,” said Louisa McCune, executive director of Kirkpatrick Foundation. “Justified by the need to monitor each pig and decrease any aggressive behaviors, gestation crates became the answer of the pig industry to raise the most pigs with the most efficient use of resources and space. It’s also the most-cruel treatment of any species in Oklahoma—and at the greatest scale.”

Dr. Lesa Staubus, DVM, senior program officer at Kirkpatrick Foundation Staubus, a veterinarian who specializes in farm animal welfare issues, will also be a featured conference speaker. “Improving the housing systems for animals in concentrated animal-feeding operations is the most immediate issue for farm animals in Oklahoma,” she said. “Intensive confinement of any species leads to welfare concerns.”

Of the 220 million farm animals in Oklahoma, approximately 4 million live in extreme confinement battery cages or gestation crates; 100 percent of those animals are female and are either pregnant pigs or egg-laying hens. That’s a small sliver of the total farm animal inventory in Oklahoma—1.9%—but the suffering is exponential, extraordinary, and unnecessary.

“We’ve seen a 2,400 percent rise of foreign-owned agricultural land in Oklahoma, starting in 2004,” said McCune. “Meanwhile, 95 percent of all hogs in Oklahoma now live on 33 industrial mega-farms just as Oklahoma led the nation in farm bankruptcies in 2019. There is a clear and present problem. Oklahomans believe we can do better, and 91 percent are strongly supportive of regulatory policies that require sufficient space for farm animals to stand up, turn around, and stretch their limbs in any cage, crate, or pen.”

Presented by Kirkpatrick Foundation, an Oklahoma City philanthropy founded in 1955 by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick, the Oklahoma Conference on the Humane Treatment of Pigs is designed to educate the public and concerned citizens about the harmful practices of extreme confinement systems while also offering solutions that work for both the animals and agriculture.

“Oklahoma is lagging in its approach to the basic wellbeing of pigs as part of the food system,” McCune said. “Research, and personal experiences, have shown pigs to be social, intelligent creatures, capable of playing video games, building complex nests, and singing to their young. We can and must do better when it comes to the humane treatment of these animals.”

Lunch, snacks, and a certificate of attendance will be provided. Registration is free, but space is limited. To secure a spot, call 405-608-0934 or email #" First-Ever Oklahoma Conference on the Humane Treatment of Pigs Announced by Kirkpatrick Foundation Symposium Features Renowned Author, Highlights the Cruelty of Extreme Confinement of Pigs, and Offer...
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