Huge victory for farm animals!
- The nation's largest pork producer, Smithfield Corporation, has just
agreed to phase out the use of gestation crates!! (Smithfield's produces 15.6 million hogs annually and its clients include McDonald's and Wal-Mart.) This is a tremendous step forward in the humane treatment of farm animals! Arizona activists played an important role by passing Prop 204 and showing industry that the public demands the humane treatment of farm animals. The
following is a press release sent out by the Humane Society of the
The Humane Society of the United States Praises Smithfield Move to
End Confinement of Pigs in Gestation Crates
Nation's Largest Animal Protection Organization Calls the Change
a "Monumental Advance" for Animal Welfare
WASHINGTON (January 25, 2007) Calling the company's
announcement "perhaps the most monumental advance for animal welfare
in history of modern American agribusiness," The Humane Society of
the United States (HSUS) today praised Smithfield Corporation, the
nation's largest pork producer, for announcing it has agreed to phase
out the confinement of pigs in gestation crates over the next
decade. The decision comes after voters in Arizona and Florida in
ballot initiatives spearheaded by The HSUS approved measures to
outlaw the crates. The Arizona measure, Proposition 204, was approved
in November by 62 percent of voters, in spite of a vigorous campaign
by industry to defeat it.
"This is an earthquake in the pig industry," stated Wayne Pacelle,
president and CEO of The HSUS. "Gestation crates are one of the most
inhumane confinement systems used in modern agribusiness, and this
decision is a signal by the industry leader that these crates have no
place in the future of American agriculture. The Humane Society of
the United States calls on the other major pork producers to follow
Smithfield 's lead, and rid the industry of this extraordinarily
inhumane confinement system."
Gestation crates are two-foot by seven-foot metal cages that house
breeding pigs. The sows have a gestation period of four months, and
are in the crates for nearly their entire pregnancy. After giving
birth, they are re-impregnated and placed back in the crates,
enduring perhaps 8 or 10 successive pregnancies in the crates before
the animals are reproductively "spent." The crates are so restrictive
that the animals can't even turn around for months on end. Pigs
confined in gestation crates suffer both leg and joint problems along
with psychosis resulting from extreme boredom and frustration.
Confinement in gestation crates is so abusive that the entire
European Union is phasing out the practice, with a total ban taking
effect in 2013. Numerous American animal scientists also oppose these
cruel crates. Farm animal expert Dr. Temple Grandin
states, "Gestation crates for pigs are a real problem...Basically,
you're asking a sow to live in an airline seat...I think it's
something that needs to be phased out."
Under Smithfield 's plan, breeding sows will instead be housed in
group pens in which they have some freedom of movement and the
ability to socialize.
C. Larry Pope, Smithfield Foods CEO stated in a press release, "While
this will be a significant financial commitment for our company over
the next 10 years, we believe it's the right thing to do."
Florida citizens voted to prohibit gestation crate confinement in
2002, and the Arizona measure was approved in 2006. The HSUS has been
considering replicating these campaigns in other states in the 2008
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest
animal protection organization with nearly 10 million members and
constituents. The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active
programs in companion animals, disaster preparedness and response,
wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammals, animals in research,
equine protection, and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all
animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation,
advocacy and field work. The nonprofit organization is based in
Washington and has field representatives and offices across the
country. On the web at www.humanesociety.org .