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October 26, 2012

Campaign against Gestation Crates is Right on Target

I’ve said a few times before on this blog that there’s no future for gestation crate production in the pork industry. With today’s announcement that Target is planning a phase-out of gestation crates, that’s more evident than ever.

270x224 a pigs tail still

Target is the nation’s fourth-largest food retailer with nearly 1,800 locations in 49 states, and this announcement—along with those by Costco, Kroger, and Safeway earlier this year—means that we have four of the top five food retailers in the United State on board with our campaign. In all, just this year, nearly 40 major U.S. food companies have enacted such policies, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, ConAgra, Oscar Mayer, and Jimmy Dean.

In the face of this demand by its institutional customers, the pork industry seems utterly, and self-destructively, recalcitrant. While television manufacturers went from black-and-white screens to high-definition color, and camera makers went from film to digital, the pork industry continues its refusal to innovate and to see and acquiesce to the changes that consumers are demanding.

“It is getting a little embarrassing,” wrote the editors at Meatingplace, an industry trade journal. “While some in the [pork] industry hold out that science hasn't determined whether one housing method for sows is better than the other, HSUS is kicking down crates left and right—not to mention doors.”

This week, The HSUS unveiled a new strategy to drive forward the inevitable transition away from crates: a short, animated film for children called A Pig’s Tailfeaturing the voices of James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber and original music by Steven Delopoulos. We teamed up with Academy Award-winning Aardman Studios (creators of Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken Run) to create a film about a baby pig’s perspective of factory farming. It also highlights a farmer’s awakening to the idea that extreme confinement is no longer acceptable. He decides to throw open the crate and warehouse doors at the factory farm and to let pigs be pigs in a pasture.

This is part of our organizational priority to inspire people of all ages to consider where their food comes from. “Most children are captivated by animals and have the potential to care about how they are treated,” says Christine Gutleben, The HSUS’s senior director of Faith Outreach. “Through this film, they will see farm animals as creatures capable of suffering and farm workers as often caught up in an abusive system along with the animals.”

Watch the video here and forward it on to your friends.

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