The Texas Department of Criminal Justice approved a contract to purchase swine nursing tools, which includes air conditioners, a move civil rights activists concerned about the health risks of unair-conditioned cells called “ridiculous,” reports the Huntsville (Tx.) Item. The contract with Art's Way Scientific, a company that builds animal housing, for $750,000 to purchase prefabricated modular farrowing units and nursing pens for their swine production program was approved in June.
The purchase was met with criticism from the Texas Civil Rights Project after it was reported on the Grits for Breakfast blog. The group says that the deal is “ridiculous” because the state does not have temperature-controlled prison cells, except for the psychiatric, hospital, and geriatric wings, yet provides it for pigs. “Fourteen prisoners have died from heat stroke in recent years,” Scott Medlock, director of TCRP's Prisoners' Rights Program, said. “It is outrageous that TDCJ would prioritize the safety of pigs raised for slaughter over the lives of human beings. TDCJ has literally made the decision that protecting its bacon is more important than protecting human lives.”