Do the over 9 billion animals farmed in the United States each year require less protection? No. Should we allow them to endure extreme cruelty during their lives just because they're destined for slaughter? Certainly not.
I am still not used to people saying "your pig is cute" or "thanks for letting us pet your pig." It just doesn't roll off the tongue and land into the ears the same way sweet phrases about puppies and kittens do.
In the current discourse, happy pigs are the ideal alternative to the miserable and abused pigs raised in factory farms. Happy pigs become happy meat, and happy meat is good. We should feel good about eating happy meat.
Cramming animals into smaller and smaller spaces -- to the point where they're essentially immobilized and lined up like parked cars -- is the result of a decades-long industry race to the animal welfare bottom.