Piglets are “due for a few unpleasant surprises in the form of minor surgery. Piglets’ tails are usually clipped as a precaution against tail-biting … Most male piglets are [also] castrated. Castration is done because consumers are thought to find the meat of intact males objectionable.”
For six months per year, most sows are confined in crates and stalls in which they cannot turn around. This confinement “can make it impossible for animals to perform natural behaviour …. We sometimes speak of intensively housed pigs suffering from boredom or under-stimulation or thwarting of natural behaviour. The problem is very real. Confinement can also put considerable stress on the legs and hooves of pigs. As a result, lameness and hoof injuries are important problems in some herds.”
The Canadian pork industry counters that sows must be confined to prevent them from crushing their piglets, but scientific experts say that “most crushing occurs in the first few days after birth.”
Furthermore, according to a University of Guelph study, an estimated “30% of growing pigs suffer from ulcers, and between 10 and 40% may eventually die from the ailment.” The same study reveals that the high percentage of waste in the pig’s diet can cause vomiting and diarrhea.