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Karen Thunshelle, Minot, N.D., Published August 17 2013

Letter: Protecting pigs important to many

In response to the Aug. 13 letter “Animal activists hardly credible”:

North Dakotans care about animal welfare – we proved it last year by demanding that the state Legislature enact a stronger animal cruelty law. The Humane Society of the United States supported that law, and even urged the Legislature to go further. As the nation’s largest animal protection organization, our mission is to stop the institutional abuse of animals, and that includes the extreme confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates. We don’t stand alone in this objective.

An American Farm Bureau poll found that most Americans don’t consider gestation crate confinement to be humane – and neither does renowned animal welfare scientist Dr. Temple Grandin. Some of the world’s largest food companies have announced that they will eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. Those companies include McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, SUBWAY, Oscar Mayer, Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Denny’s, Sodexo and ARAMARK. Major pork producers such as Smithfield and Hormel have also begun moving away from the practice.

The tide of public opinion has turned against gestation crates, despite the efforts of Washington, D.C., lobbyist Richard Berman to keep the status quo. The Center for Consumer Freedom doesn’t protect animals or consumers; it simply lines Berman’s pockets so he can continue protecting those interests that profit from the exploitation of animals.

Thunshelle is North Dakota state director, Humane Society of the United States.