You’ve probably heard about the gross things that make their way into hot dogs, but you might not have heard about what happens to the pigs who become those hot dogs. Here’s what happens:

1. When they’re not in the meat industry, after piglets are born, their mothers will instinctually clean them and make a nest.

pig and piglets

There are few animals who look happier than newborn piglets. Adorbz!

2. But this is what a piglet birth looks like on factory farms:

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals 

The mother can’t make a nest or clean her baby because she doesn’t even have enough space to turn around.

3. That’s because mother pigs are usually confined to gestation crates while they are pregnant …

© Farm Sanctuary 

4. … and farrowing crates while they nurse.

pig 4 farrowing crate

Both gestation crates and farrowing crates are so cramped that pigs aren’t able to turn around. They will stay almost completely still for nearly their entire lives.

5. These pigs will be artificially inseminated over and over again until their bodies give out.

Then they’ll be sent to slaughter.

6. Piglets who aren’t raised for food like to spend their time playing, exploring, and bonding with mom.


7. But on most modern farms, piglets are taken from their mothers after a few weeks.

pig7 piglets

8. Their tails are chopped off, their teeth are clipped, and the males are castrated …

… all without any painkillers.

9. Piglets who don’t grow quickly enough are killed.


This method of killing is called “thumping” (slamming piglets into the ground), and it’s standard practice in the industry.

10. When given the chance, pigs actually enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages, just as humans do.

pig 10

11. But pigs raised for food are usually kept in barren, severely crowded pens like these. And they never get to go outside.

'humane' meat

12. There, injuries and disease are rampant and often go untreated.

Pigs on factory farm

© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals 

13. After about six months, pigs are crammed onto trucks like these.

pig13 transport truck

14. They’ll often travel hundreds of miles to the slaughterhouse in all weather extremes.

Toronto Pig Save  

15. In the winter, pigs can freeze to the trucks.

Toronto Pig Save  

16. After beating and prodding the pigs onto the killing floor, workers attempt to stun them.

17. Stunning isn’t reliable, and many pigs’ throats are cut while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain.


18. Pigs are smart, social, playful animals who deserve much better than to be turned into this:

Be a hero for pigs. 

You can save pigs just by refusing to eat them! It’s easy, better for your health, and better for the environment.

Before your next BBQ, check out our list of vegan hot dogs and vegan bacon brands and swap the animal flesh for a cruelty-free sausage or frank! They are easy to find at most grocery stores.

Together, we can help pigs. Share this with your friends.