Factory-farmed pigs lead a grim life. Breeding sows are kept locked inside gestation crates for the entire duration of their pregnancies—about four months. These enclosures, which are illegal in eight U.S. states, are so small the animals can’t even turn around. Once the pigs give birth and their piglets are weaned, the animals are inseminated again and again over a period of three years, after which time they’re typically killed. It’s a brutal and largely unsanitary process. And in America’s multi-billion-dollar pork industry, it’s standard.
But there’s reason to hope that pigs are making progress toward greener pastures. Mistreated porkers are increasingly finding some unusual allies—fast-food restaurants.