Canadian pigs now have a very famous friend.
Ryan Gosling has penned an emotional and direct opinion piece -- titled "A Tiny Cage is Not a Life" -- published today in the Globe and Mail on behalf of Farm Sanctuary and Humane Society International/Canada in an effort to improve the lives of pigs, specifically by eliminating the use of gestational crates.
"Pigs in tiny crates suffer beyond anything most of us can easily imagine," Gosling writes in the 534-word piece. "They are unable to even turn around for weeks at a time, so that their muscles and bones deteriorate. And these extremely social and intelligent animals lose their minds from being denied any social or psychological stimulation at all."
By plugging pigs intelligence (they "outperform even chimpanzees on some tests of cognitive prowess," he writes) and comparing them to domesticated animals (such as his own dog, George), Gosling tugs on the heartstrings of readers and farm leaders in the hopes that Canada's National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) will close a loophole in current pork regulations that allow farmers to leave pigs in these crates for up to five weeks.
"Over a pig's short life, which is just four years long, this amounts to about nine months of solitary confinement in a cage so small she can't even turn her own body around," writes the Canadian thespian. "Currently, mother pigs are kept in these cages called 'gestation crates' for four months while pregnant, moved to another cage to give birth, reimpregnated and put back into a gestation crate for the cycle to repeat. It adds up to years of immobilization and millions of smart, inquisitive animals relegated to iron maidens."
Pigs deserve fair treatment, he argues, like domesticated animals. To prove his point, Gosling opens his report by detailing the distinct personality displayed by his dog. For example, George loves apples and has guested on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."
"The bond I have with George is not unique," he states. "Like me, countless Canadians share their homes and lives with pets they consider to be part of the family. We know that they have individual personalities and quirks … and that they feel both physical and mental pain. Our pets share these traits with other animals; including those we don't share our lives with, such as farm animals."
Speaking of animals, this isn't the first time Gosling has lent his famous name and impressive vocabulary to support the health and well-being of non-humans. He previously penned articles to campaign for the elimination of dehorning procedures on dairy cows and for more humane treatment of birds such as chicken and turkeys.
But back to the pigs.
In closing, Gosling tips his hat to recent regulatory changes, while noting that more needs to be done. "I applaud NFACC for working to improve life for Canada's pigs, and I join Farm Sanctuary and Humane Society International in asking that it close this dangerous loophole by prohibiting the pork industry from confining pigs for weeks at a time -- something I would never dream of doing to George, and that no compassionate Canadian would ever do to any animal."