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Letter: Pig cruelty must stop

As someone who has been rescuing abused pigs for more than 20 years, I am appalled by the findings of PETA's undercover investigation at an Iowa pig farm, where workers were caught hitting pigs with metal rods, slamming piglets on the floor, jamming rods into pigs' rectums, spraying paint up pigs' noses, and other atrocities. This case is especially horrifying, but over the years I have witnessed enough examples of abuse and neglect perpetrated on pigs to know that cruelty is routine on factory farms.

Hormel and other meat companies must immediately implement strict animal welfare standards if they want to maintain any shred of credibility. The American public also needs to take a stand by boycotting factory-farmed meat, at least until some reforms have been implemented. At the very least, gestation crates -- the cramped metal stalls that mother pigs are imprisoned in for much of their lives -- should be outlawed in every state, as they already have been in Florida, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado. Federal and local laws must be strengthened so that farmed animals are protected from incredibly painful "standard industry practices" like castration and tail-amputations, which they are currently subjected to without so much as an aspirin. -- Richard Hoyle, The Pig Preserve, Jamestown, Tenn.