LIMA ‚?? Pointing up to an inflatable pig outside the Wal-Mart on Allentown Road on Monday, 10-year-old Megan Black focused mainly on the cage the animal was crammed into.
‚??Think of a kid like him being in a cage all hurt and stuff. It is the same thing,‚?Ě she said. ‚??That is probably somebody‚??s piglet, or a mom or a dad.‚?Ě
Megan, of Toledo, came to Lima with her mom to protest the way the store‚??s pork suppliers confine pigs in gestation crates. Five people, none local, spent an hour in front of the store.
The 10-foot-tall inflatable pig, bloody with sores and locked in a narrow crate, represented the practice of confining pregnant pigs in tiny crates on factory farms, where they are unable to lie down comfortably, turn around or engage in basic natural behaviors, according to protesters.
‚??It is a common sense issue that animals with four legs should be able to turn around and engage in natural behaviors,‚?Ě said Jeni Haines, Mercy For Animals campaign coordinator. ‚??Their lives are filled with misery and deprivation.‚?Ě
Haines said Wal-Mart has the power to require its pork suppliers to phase out gestation crates. Many of its competitors, including Kroger and Costco, have stopped allowing such practices. Wal-Mart in Canada made the move two months ago. The practice is banned in nine U.S. states and the European Union.
‚??Keeping highly intelligent and social animals confined to cages that are so small they can‚??t even turn around for their entire lives is blatant animal cruelty,‚?Ě she said. ‚??It is time for Wal-Mart to follow the lead of their many competitors.‚?Ě
The Lima News requested a comment from Wal-Mart‚??s corporate headquarters, but did not hear from anyone.
Mercy For Animals has been championing the cause for more than a year, with the demonstrations beginning two months ago and hitting 140 cities so far. Protesters will be at a Wal-Mart in Fort Wayne, Ind., today.
Samantha Burton came to the protest from Columbus on Monday. To make her point, she described taking a long car trip or being stuck on a plane when the flight is delayed.
‚??You start to get a little cramped and it is annoying. Think about that but multiply it by a million and take away any sunlight or fresh air and that is pretty much what these pigs survive in,‚?Ě she said. ‚??I feel compassion for them. I don‚??t want any living being to suffer.‚?Ě