Hey, Girl: Ryan Gosling wants you to care about pregnant lady pigs in small cages

Hey Girl. Ryan Gosling wants you to care about pigs. Especially lady pigs. Don’t get jealous, girl. Ryan’s interest in lady pigs (Ryan knows they’re called “sows” but to him, every sow is a lady) is purely humanitarian. Ryan wrote a lovely, anthropomorphizing essay/column in yesterday’s Globe & Mail called “A Tiny Cage Is Not A Life”. I imagine that at one point, Ryan wrote a poem with that title and it was about you, girl, and how you put his heart in a tiny cage and how he knows why the caged bird sings. For you, girl. In all honesty, this is a sweet/nice thing to do, and he actually is trying to do something to protect the pigs. Here’s Ryan’s column:

I take my beloved dog George with me almost everywhere I go. Once, George even shared the stage with me on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

The bond I have with George is not unique. 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 (George loves apples, for example) 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. As primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has noted, “Farm animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear and pain. They are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined … they are individuals in their own right.”

Pigs, specifically, outperform even chimpanzees on some tests of cognitive prowess. So of course these animals also deserve our care and attention. That’s why I was so heartened to learn that Canada is taking steps toward improving the treatment of animals in the food supply.

Specifically, Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council, which sets regulations for Canada’s agricultural system when it comes to how animals are treated, recently released a draft code of practice for the pork industry to follow. Within this draft code is a mandate that the pork industry stop relegating, for nearly their entire lives, mother pigs to tiny cages so small they can’t even turn around.

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.

The process has been criticized by veterinarians, animal protection advocates, consumers and even major food retailers as inhumane and unnecessary. Tim Hortons, for example, announced recently that it is working – alongside 60 other major food companies – to eliminate these cages from their supply chain entirely.

While NFACC’s progress is important and laudable, there is a major loophole in the code that I hope will be closed. As written, the draft still allows the pork industry to lock pigs in gestation crates for up to five weeks at a time. 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.

Pigs in tiny crates suffer beyond anything most of us can easily imagine. They are unable even to 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.

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.

[From The Globe & Mail]

Ugh, so sad. You know I’ve always wanted a pig, right? They are really smart animals, and they’re incredibly cute (to me, at least). I’ve been known to spend hours on the computer, looking at photos of “teacup piglets” and such. I even think my dog looks sort of like a pig too. Anyway, I like that Ryan’s essay has a real mission and it’s not just some “woe are the pigs, we should all feel terrible” guilt trip. His mission is to end the loophole which allows pregnant pigs to be crated. Good for him. I hope it makes a difference. I hope the Canadian Hey Girls support his mission.

Here’s the piglet that I want:

Here are some cute photos of Ryan and his dog(s):

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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42 Responses to “Hey, Girl: Ryan Gosling wants you to care about pregnant lady pigs in small cages”

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  1. Erinn says:

    This might be the best headline I’ve seen on here yet.

  2. Bubulle says:

    I’m a big animal lover myself, can’t hate on him for that.

  3. lisa says:

    i care! i care!

    can i have him next? i understand he will eventually go back to mcadams, it’s ok

  4. Lucybelle says:

    So sweet! Ever since watching Food, Inc. I haven’t been able to buy supermarket meat. I am lucky enough to live in an agriculture community so I can actually buy my meat directly from the farm it was raised on. Say no to CAFOs!

    And Ryan G is just the sexiest. Yummmmmy!

    • kim says:

      4H 4ever

    • Anna says:

      Me too! I was completely horrified at Food, INC and thank goodness have access to farmers in my new town.

    • Mazunte says:

      I couldn’t watch Food Inc because if I did I possibly wouldn’t be able to eat any meat anymore. It was enough for me to see Samsara and Baraka to feel terrible. I’ve been eating less and less meat.

      Samsara actually shows the tiny crates he wrote about.

      I already love Ryan as an actor, so one more season to love him. Ryan rocks!

  5. sarah says:

    I’ve always wanted a pig too. I think they are sooooo cute.

  6. mkyarwood says:

    I do care. It’s so refreshing to read things like this from someone in the celebrity world. Scaling back the Meat Industry, changing the way the animals are treated, is much more important to us than most of us realize.

    • .amanda says:

      Agreed. I’m glad some people are doing something to change how animals are treated.

    • Meaghan says:

      AGREED! I loves me some Ryan Gosling. I read his essay yesterday in the G&M, I’m surprised its being wrote about here. Good job celebitchy. And the nice thing about it is since he is a celebrity, this article is making its way through the news feeds and opening peoples eyes. Its even worse in America, I know Canada has stricter animal laws then America (From what I have heard, maybe they’ve recently made changes down there?)

      I love the angle he took though of making people really think about the personalities of animals. It is so true, but I don’t think many people have given it much thought. They see pigs, and they think bacon. I was disgusted when I found out how chickens are kept on the farms. Free range sounds so good, but in reality the conditions are atrocious. I try to support local farms as much as I can (and its easy, since I’m in the heart of the prairies where all the farms are) and only buy eggs that are farm fresh, and try to only by locally raised meat.

  7. Pharce says:

    Best. Headline. Ever.

  8. Poink517 says:

    Good for him! I stopped eating most meat (I still eat seafood) several years ago after learning about how horribly these poor animals are treated. It’s absolutely shameful and so, so sad – makes me ill. I’m glad he’s giving this issue attention. I’ve always wanted a pet pig, too! They are so cute and smart. 🙂

  9. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Kaiser-I want a pig so badly! Where’s Amelia? I believe she said she had pigs?
    I squeed when I saw the pig in boots pic. So effin’ cute!

    I also want a few goats.

    As sad as this was to read, I love Ryan so much for doing this. But I love him anyway so really no changes there.

    Save the piggies!!!

    • Lucybelle says:

      I’m getting goats! A couple of little Nigerian Dwarfs to put out in the pasture with our chickens. They are hilarious animals but escape artists so if you do get them make sure you have a sturdy fence!

    • pamspam says:

      Never really got the warm fuzzies for him, but this makes me love him just a little bit.

  10. blannie says:

    As a long-time vegetarian, I applaud Ryan for this. Anything to make animals’ lives better is good in my book!

    • Sannie says:

      I agree, I’m also a vegetarian and I love it when famous people adress these isues. Love Ryan for this!

  11. GMarchetti says:

    So nice to see celebrities using their fame other than to promote their selves. As a vegetarian (not a vegan), I can’t understand how people can simply pretend that they believe that animals do not suffer or feel any pain. Didn’t they ever pet a dog, or admired the beauty of a bird’s sing? Since he’s bringing some light to pig issues in Canada, he and other Canadian celebrities should raise some “awareness” (not that we are not) to the seal slaughter that happens every year, in name of the “fashion”. I wish we could risk at least this one out of the giant list of terrible things humans do to animals.

    • nnire says:

      i am a Canadian (and not a seal hunter), and while i certainly do not enjoy the thought of any animal being mass slaughtered, there is a huge amount of misconceptions with respect to seal hunting. seals do not only provide fur and leather: their fat (rendered for Omega3 medicinal oil) and meat are also used. their deaths are no less humane than killing chickens, swine, and cows. there are very specific regulations with respect to the legal hunting of seals.

      i would be upset if seals were being slaughtered in an unhumane manner for only their fur and leather, but this is not accurate.

      • Katia says:

        I’ll vote for any party that ends it. Slaughtering any mammal is way less humane than shark finning; cows pigs and seals have it the worst 🙁

      • Danielle310 says:

        waitwaitwaitwaitwait, I can’t imagine you actually feel comfortable with your comment. You are defending the annual seal CLUBBING. wow. I guess you guys really need that baby seal fur(and omega oils that are sourced from no where else) so badly nothing else will do. wow

        while their deaths may be quick, the fear they experience prior is not. go look at the photo of the hunter with his club raised over the seal looking up at him in pure fear and reevaluate your life.

      • nnire says:

        i do feel comfortable with my comment. i eat meat, and unfortunately at this moment in time i am sad to say that it is not all from small family farms, rolling pastures, and organic feeds–it’s a rarity to find in my neck of the woods. the reality is that farm animals raised in confinement operations spend their whole lives in tiny spaces, without proper stimulation to learn and grow and meet their natural needs. the only time any of these animals ever see sunlight is enroute to the slaughter house.

        therefore it would be ridiculously hypocritical of me to suggest that the seal hunt is worse than confinement farming. seals that are killed in the most humane way possible at least get to enjoy time outside, doing seal-y things, and don’t grow up understimulated and in filthy crowded conditions. as a meat-eater, i do not have issues with hunting so long as the animal is consumed and the animal’s death is quick and clean. killing a pig is no different than killing a seal. they both feel fear and pain.

      • GMarchetti says:

        I became a vegetarian because I don’t think it’s fair to kill an animal, whether the killing is “humane” or not. But that’s what my conscious tells me to and it’s a personal choice, so I hate when other vegetarians start “preaching” how they’re right and others are not.

        In no way I meant to offend Canadian people about the seals killing, it’s just something that comes to my mind when I think about animal cruelty in general. But I’m glad to read that others understand what I mean and agree with me, that there’s no need to get Omega 3 and oils specifically from baby seals, just like we don’t need whale or dolphin’s meat, etc.

        About the “being slaughtered in an inhumane manner for only their fur and leather, this is not accurate” part, I’m not getting into that because it’s not worthy.

        Anyway, glad that a celebrity is addressing an animal issue, whether people think the animal species is a “good one” or not, in the end, what makes me a living being is the same thing that makes an ant an living being: LIFE. We should all respect LIFE, no matter what. 😉

    • nnire says:

      i just don’t understand why it would be more ok to slaughter seven billion chickens a year than three hundred thousand seals per year. many people actually eat seal. admittedly, i will not be lining up for seal flipper pie anytime soon, but my friends in Newfoundland and Labrador love it, and many First Nations communities have relied on seal hunting as a major staple in their diets. just because i would rather eat a burger than a piece of seal doesn’t make me a better person. it’s also a lot less environmentally devastating to hunt wild game than have half a million pigs on one mega farm.

      i admire and respect vegetarians and especially vegans, and wish i was disciplined enough to be one. since i’m not there yet, i strive to eat less meat and know where it comes from when possible. i am so pleased that major corporations are feeling the heat from customers to buy meat from farmers that go the extra mile (and dollar) to ensure greater animal welfare.

  12. A says:

    God, what a man! -ovary sigh-

  13. TinyPixie says:

    Good man! And a worthy cause!

  14. yolo112 says:

    …just when I stepped away from the Gosling, he goes and does something like this… I just can’t quit you, Ryan, I just can’t…

    I miss seeing pics of him and george… lately it’s been the bitch face walking him everywhere =(

  15. Danielle310 says:

    Vegetarian here too! I love this article, thanks Kaiser.

    It’s so strange, just last night I was thinking about cows, and how I want to hug them, not eat them. Something about the eyes and eye lashes.

    I remember hearing a long time ago that Ryan wanted to know the realty of the meat industry and toured a slaughterhouse. That was him right? There’s some emotional strength right there, yikes. If slaughterhouses had glass walls right…

  16. it's PR says:

    And he’s with a woman who shocks her dog……

  17. Nymeria says:

    Teacup piglets are actually undernourished or stunted potbellied pigs, and they do not generally grow only to 10 lbs. In fact, they can, and often do, reach 50 – 100 lbs. Here is an article about teacup piglets by the Best Friends Animal Society: http://bestfriends.org/News-And-Features/News/The-truth-about-teacup-pigs/

    Do research before buying any such beasties!

  18. Mary says:

    Never had much interest in Ryan but to use an old fashioned word that last pic with his dog made me swoon. Fair dues Ryan. You are a gent

  19. I Choose Me says:

    Kudos to Ryan for spreading awareness of this practice. I’m reminded of why I like him so much.

  20. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    Aww, look! There’s my dog! The first picture of him and his dog…the dog that’s licking/drooling on his face. I have the same one, but she’s a girl and is light brown and white. The exact same face! So cute!

  21. Leah says:

    love him!

  22. Jub-Jub says:

    Kaiser – thank you for posting this. I only read a bit of Ryan’s essay (I’m a huge emotional mess when it comes to animals) but I think it’s amazing that he’s done this. What a gentleman. Cute pics 😀

  23. giselle says:

    while i commend ryan for writing this & bringing attention to animal treatment issues… i still can’t deal with him anymore. i had to get that man out of my life. but, again, kudos to him for it.

  24. michael says:

    It’s difficult to get knowledgeable folks on this subject matter, but you could be seen as you know what you’re discussing! Thanks

  25. Oh Please says:

    LOL @ any of you morons who fell for this. He’s with a chick who shocks her dog. This is yet another instance of what a phony he is. And he barely ever goes to Canada. He doesn’t give a crap about this.