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July 27, 2012

Companies Move to End Gestation Crate Confinement, while Big Pork Drags its Heels

This week, North America’s largest food-service distributor, Sysco, became the latest major food company to take a stand against gestation crate confinement of pigs. Even more companies are sure to follow, as the food industry rebels against a widespread pork industry production practice.

Rather than clean up its own house, the pork industry keeps telling the egg industry how to run its affairs–continuing to lobby against the landmark accord reached between The HSUS and the United Egg Producers to phase out the use of barren battery cages in the U.S. When asked by a National Journal reporter about the extreme confinement practices of its own industry, the communications director of the National Pork Producers Council said the following: “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets…I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around.”

Gestation crate quote graphic
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We’ve got a new advertising campaign starting Monday that exposes the pork industry for being in the backwater of animal welfare. Take a look at our new ad, which shows the reality of gestation crate confinement. The Big Pork lobbyists defending this cruelty are the last ones who should be giving animal care advice to other sectors of animal agriculture.

The pork and cattle industries also went wild this week after someone at the U.S. Department of Agriculture put out a newsletter including a mention of the health and environmental benefits of Meatless Monday. The effect of the rebuke of USDA–which the meat industry treats as some sort of subsidiary–was to draw much more attention to Meatless Mondays.

These groups continue to disregard public sentiment. As it happens, I cannot help but see the erosion in their support with the American consumer. And the erosion of their political support cannot be too far behind.

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