However, while many of us making the right choices at farmers markets and grocery stores, our actions are being undermined by trade ministers and corporate lobbyists at the World Trade Organization. Trade rules now restrict how countries can protect
animal welfare and support farmers who raise their animals humanely.
A perfect example is the confinement of pigs in gestation crates. Gestation crates are tiny metal stalls, about 2,by,7 feet, in which pregnant sows spend most of their lives. These crates are too small for the pig to turn around, and pigs often develop urinary tract infections, skin sores, tumors, and ‚pus pockets” from rubbing against the metal bars as they try to escape the cage that‚ coated with their own blood, urine, and excrement.
One way to combat this practice would simply be to outlaw it. In 2002, voters in Florida approved a constitutional amendment banning gestation crates. Switzerland and the United Kingdom also have laws requiring humane treatment of pigs. And in the fall of 2006, Arizonans voted on banning gestation crates.
However, trade agreements have opened ways for corporations to fight these laws. Bans on gestation crates have not yet been challenged as a trade barrier, but they could be. Read the factsheet to learn more.