The Humane Society of the United States applauds Union City, Tenn.-based Williams Sausage Company for its policy to eliminate controversial gestation crates from its pork supply chain. Gestation crates are cages used to tightly confine breeding pigs to the point the animals can’t even turn around.
In a letter to The HSUS, Roger Williams, the company’s CEO wrote:
“Williams Sausage Company takes the welfare of animals very seriously, and we support the elimination of gestation stall housing for sows. We are asking our suppliers to present their plans by 2017 that address the elimination of gestation stalls, with an understanding that a phase-out may be a long-term process and could take up to ten years. Working together with our suppliers Williams Sausage is committed to continuous improvement of animal welfare practices in our industry.”
“We welcome Williams Sausage’s decision to work with its suppliers to eliminate gestation crates,” stated Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for The HSUS. “With so many of the top pork buyers enacting similar policies, the pork industry’s future is assuredly one without inhumane gestation crates.”
Similar announcements made recently by Oscar Mayer, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and more than 40 other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that leaves most breeding pigs confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy. These cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and designed to prevent them from even turning around. The animals are subsequently transferred into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization. This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.
Source: The Humane Society of the United States