A national organization hopes its message on the move gets your attention
“We believe we have a responsibility as producers and as people that animals are treated with respect,” says Joe Maxwell, President of Rural Development and Outreach with the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society of the United States says it picked Des Moines for this campaign because Iowa’s the top pork producer. The group wants Iowans to know how pregnant sows are treated at some farms.
“While the sow is pregnant, evidence clearly demonstrated that it is just as profitable to have these pigs in group housing so they can experience and exhibit their natural behavior in a group setting, so it’s not even necessary to have this animal caged all of its life,” says Maxwell.
The message will appear on a Des Moines Area Regional Transit bus. The National Humane Society says it’s cruel and in-humane to house a pregnant sow in a two-foot by seven-foot space where it’s unable to stand or move. In the ad they compare that space for a pig to the space an adult gets on a bus seat.
However, pork producers say the gestation crates are necessary to keep the animal from hurting itself.
One Iowan whose family farms says he disagrees with the ad.
“They have a right to speak their minds, just the same as everybody else does, but it would be interesting to see what their backgrounds are, and to see the number of jobs that it brings to the state of Iowa and the Midwest in general. If it were to disappear tomorrow, there would be a lot more people out of work then what they realize,” says Colin Van Kooten of Pella.
The ad costs about $15,000 and will run on one bus in Des Moines for about six months.
A similar ad will be running on a public transportation bus in Washington D.C.