Harrington's Sort & Cull

Monday 07/23/12

More Companies Ban Gestation Crates

The list of food suppliers committing to eliminate buying pork produced using gestation crates grew longer last week.

Costco, the nation's second largest food retailer, announced on Tuesday plans to encourage their pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation crates by 2022.

The decision was prompted by the release of an undercover video on Tuesday shot by Los Angeles-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals at a Christensen Farms location in Hanska, Minn., a major Costco pork supplier, showing sows in gestation crates.

Craig Wilson, Costco's vice president of food safety, said in an AP article the company had been working on the issue for a long time and the timing was a coincidence.

Sears Holding Corp., which owns Super Kmart and Heinz, also announced this week plans to stop pregnant sow confinement in its food supplies without a timeline.

"We believe that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and we support and appreciate the efforts of pork suppliers to reduce and eliminate the use of gestation crates," said Robin Michel, Sears Holdings' senior vice president and president for grocery, drug and pharmacy, in a recent press release. "While this is a lengthy process, we support the industry for taking steps to make this much needed change and we anticipate and know this will take time."

Chris Novak, National Pork Producer Council CEO, told DTN in an earlier interview that the company decision makers are looking at consumer perception, emotion and the thousands of emails from activist organizations each day, instead of looking at the science of what is best for the animal, environmental consequences and impact of these decisions on producers.

Pressure continues to build for companies that haven't folded under the pressure of loud activist groups to ban the use of gestation crates.

Mercy for Animals is using the undercover video filmed at Christensen Farms to target Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S, next.

Bob Barker, former "Price is Right" host, teamed up with the group in their campaign "Walmart Cruelty: The Hidden Cost of Walmart's Pork" urging consumers to sign a petition.

As of Wednesday, almost a quarter of a million people signed a petition created by SumofUs.org and the Humane Society of the United States demanding Tyson Foods, the world's second largest meat processor and major pork supplier, to begin plans to eliminate gestation confinement of pigs from their food supply.

The petition follows HSUS's release of undercover footage accusing a hog production facility in Wyoming that supplied pork to Tyson Foods of animal abuse.

Companies who have already committed to phasing out using gestation crates include Burger King, Hardee's, McDonald's, Wendy's, Smithfield Foods, Hormel Foods Corporation, Denny's and Safeway.

Lindsay Calvert can be reached at lindsay.calvert@telventdtn.com.


Posted at 2:50PM CDT 07/23/12 by Lindsay Calvert
Comments (3)
Wake up America Your food price will go up.
Posted by BILL RAUENHORST at 8:44PM CDT 07/23/12
We are awake. The pigs in COFA's are often Gm, fed GM, along with cocktails of pharmaceuticals (that DO stay in the meat) and hormones (8 yr olds reaching menarche...nice)in an overall environment that mimics some alien planet. (One here locally requires a full respirator to just enter.), making the crates merely the "icing on the cake". Meanwhile, the Michigan DNR is having non-COFA Farmers slaughter any non-COFA Breed as "Feral" or face a Felony prosecution-remember Michigan, Agriculture Committee Stabenow's home state? Oh, just a note: SYSCO, the world's largest restaurant supplier has joined the "no-crate" crowd. Higher prices? As the whole Bio-tech "House of Cards" begins to fall, it's a likelihood, anyway.
Posted by Ric Ohge at 1:27PM CDT 07/26/12
Wow! Rarely does one get to read comments from such a learned scholar. Ric's first degree was in plant and animal genetics to determine the 'dangers of GMO's' (none proven ever,ever,ever). Then he received another degree in biological pharmaceuticals because only he "knows" that hormones stay in the meat even though carcasses are tested with accuracy in the parts per billion. He has also received a criminal justice degree and has discovered the vast conspiracy of the USDA and FDA in letting these unsafe foods reach the public (whose lifespan has increased appreciably in the last few decades). Finally his economics degree was tested as he offered the theory of higher prices when the bio-tech"House Of Cards" begins to fall. Such a smart man. What university do you teach at?
Posted by Unknown at 8:22PM CDT 08/30/12
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