Ha'aretz reports on pig abuse in Israel:
It felt like we had arrived in hell. A powerful stench was discernible half a kilometer away. A little closer, you hear the moans and screams. And inside - overcrowding and filth. Here, several kilometers west of the Galilee village of A'ablin, is where all of Israel's commercial pig farms are concentrated.
The sties are closed buildings. At one farm, the overcrowding ranges from tolerable to extreme; at another it was horrendous. The pigs were stuck to each other, barely able to move. Other farms raise animals in crowded conditions, but pigs particularly suffer, being the most intelligent among livestock.…
The inhumane treatment begins at the pregnancy stage. At some farms the sows are kept throughout their pregnancy in small isolation cages that prevent even basic actions such as turning around. Breeding sows are penned up in these cages for most of their lives.
The delivery cages are also extremely narrow, supposedly to prevent the sow from crushing her litter. After 23-30 days, piglets are weaned and transferred to a pen.
Within their first 30 days, male pigs are neutered to control the size of the herd and to prevent the strong smell of pork from non-neutered male pigs.…
According to attorney Yossi Wolfson, a member of the Health Ministry committee and an animal rights activist, the farms belonging to the association perform the castration by pulling the testicles - without anesthesia or painkillers.
A spokesman for the breeders' association said in response: "Great improvement has been made in recent years in the pigs' welfare. In the past, the pigs lay on the ground in their own filth, medical care and hygiene conditions were unsatisfactory. Now the pigs are bred on raised platforms that are washed down daily and kept clean. The feeding system is modern and controled. The pigs are under close veterinary watch. The cages are clean and ventilated in summer, and in the winter they have heaters."
While pigs are not kosher animals and rabbis therefore have no say in the pig raising business, it is telling that rabbis have not protested the tzaar baalei hayyim (cruelty to animals) involved in pork production. Rabbis are also silent on tzaar baalei hayyim in the kosher meat packing industry and were the enablers of Rubashkin's notorious throat-ripping shechita. While forcing Jews to observe humrot (extra stringencies) with regard to the kosher status of industrial cooking vessels and other acana, they ignore Biblical commands regarding treatment of living things – and they should be ashamed – but they are not. This is the problem of today's Orthodoxy in a nutshell.