Smithfield Foods, Inc. decision on gestation crates
Smithfield, the U.S.’s largest producer of pigs announced it will
phase out gestation crates by 2017; that is the 2-by-7-foot metal crates
used to house pregnant sows till their babies are born. Farms that
Smithfield contracts with will be required to phase them out by 2027.
The company explained that the reason for that extended time period has
to do with the lack of strategy and answers they are facing today, and
to the fact that they would like the price market to not go up
The decision was largely affected by the pressure animal advocate
groups put on the company and by customers such as Wal-Mart and Mc.
Donald’s. Even though The National Pork Producers Council still
maintains that gestation stalls are appropriate. On the other hand Larry
Pope, chief executive of the Smithfield-based company, believes that
providing pigs with a friendlier-type of housing is the right thing to
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There is no doubt that gestation crates are the result of trying to
maximize profit and minimize cost without any regard to the lives of the
pigs. While phasing out gestational crates by 2017 is a positive step
towards a less abusive housing, it is a pity that millions of sows will
continue to suffer the stress, fear and confinement for 10 more years.
Supporting the pork industry is supporting unimaginable pain and
suffering; while adopting a plant-based diet is a powerful statement of
compassion and justice.
Also see: Following Smithfoods steps
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