The world’s largest pork processor has stopped keeping sows in narrow stalls for their entire pregnancies, a victory for animal welfare activists who have fought to end the industry practice for years.
Smithfield Foods Inc. announced it has done away with the old “gestation crates,” single animal enclosures so small the pigs can’t turn around. The Virginia-based company spent $360 million renovating its farms with the alternative “group-housing systems,” which either keep the animals in pens or allow them to move freely between pens and individual stalls.
The transition fulfills a promise the company made 10 years ago to phase out the stalls at all of the U.S. farms it owns by the end of 2017.
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