UC Faces Lawsuit for Confining Pregnant and Nursing Pigs in a Livestock ExhibitBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of California (UC) are in the docks for confining pregnant and nursing pigs in a livestock exhibit.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a suit in Alameda County Superior Court against the university and the State Fair.
"Cal Expo and the UC Regents, via the School of Veterinary Medicine, illegally expend state money and resources every year by mistreating pigs at the State Fair's Livestock Nursery Exhibit in violation of the animal cruelty laws," according to the lawsuit.
Michelle Prater, Cal Expo director of marketing, said that veterinarians are always employed to care for the animals 24/7.
The lawsuit claims that the farrowing crates and stalls, used at the fair to cage the pregnant and nursing pigs, does not allow the animals to exercise for a long period of time. As a result, it causes 'needless suffering' by 'frustrating their strong maternal instinct to engage in nest-building behavior.'
"Farrowing crates are standard practice in California in the commercial hog industry," Prater said. "We have thousands of fairgoers come and enjoy the livestock nursery every year, and it continues to be one of the most popular exhibits at the State Fair."
The lawsuit suggests both the university and the fair to practice alternative housing arrangements such as open pens, which would allow the animals to move and walk freely and to build a nest. Such arrangements have already been put in place in other exhibits such as the Alameda County fair.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund also claim that exhibiting animals who are in their penultimate stages of pregnancy and allowing viewers to watch the delivery process, can prove to be stressful for the animals and might cause birthing complications for them.
Instead, the lawsuit advises to live stream the births electronically and then transport both the mother and baby a few days after the birth.