Bill hopes to incentivize pork producers to give pregnant sows more room

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Kirkpatrick Policy Group said the Oklahoma pork industry exports about two billion pounds of pork annually.

A new senate bill is hoping to provide incentives to factory farmers to give pregnant pigs a little more room, in an effort to improve the quality of their short life.

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“A comfortable pig is a better tasting pig,” said Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City.

Sen. George Young authored Senate Bill 1325 for Oklahoma factory pig farms.

“I like to call them slaughterhouses,” said Young.

He said many female pigs, or sows, live in seven by two feet gestational crates during their 114-day pregnancy.

Young said he was recently approached by the Kirkpatrick Policy Group, which has an interest in animal rights and these crates.

“[The sow] can’t stand up, turn around, extend her limbs,” said Brendan Young, with Kirkpatrick Policy Group. “After litter of piglets during her short life. And then she’s slaughtered at the end of that.”

The group is hoping Oklahoma pig farmers will want to follow California’s Proposition 12 rules, giving sows more room.

“It actually calls for 37 and a half feet, which is a number that is larger than Prop 12 compliance,” said Hoover. “That would give the animals even more space to turn around.”

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The group and senator wrote the bill to create a $4 million fund, with the Department of Commerce, to provide grants to farmers wanting to make changes.

They said they are not trying to force change, but they believe the pork producers could profit off this. The two suggest pork producers put something on a label, like chicken producers do with a “cage-free” label.

“It’s a selling point. People like to buy it because they believe that the animal has been treated fairly,” said Young. “And here’s some money to get it done.”

News 4 reached out to Oklahoma industrial farmers, who directed us to the Oklahoma Pork Council.

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We reached out to the Oklahoma Pork Council on Monday.

Days later, the council sent us the following statement, not commenting on the legislation.

Oklahoma’s pig farmers are laser-focused on providing affordable, safe, and nutritious food to help feed families around the world. Working closely with veterinarians, our producers are committed to safely and sustainably delivering high quality protein as a key contributor to Oklahoma’s proud agriculture community.

Oklahoma Pork Council

News 4 also reached out to a number of legislators with an interest in agriculture. We either did not hear back or were told they were too busy to comment.

“We’re not anti meat,” said Hoover. “We’re just saying let the animals live a little better until it’s time for them to serve their ultimate purpose.”

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