Gestation crates are an unfortunate practice among pork producers. They’re small cages that keep pigs basically immobile. So small are they that pregnant sows are completely unable to move. That’s a sad existence for any animal. There’s been a movement of late for states to ban the practice (most recently my old home state of Rhode Island) and producers to phase out suppliers using them.
Oscar Mayer, a Kraft Foods brand, has joined the ranks of several other major food companies, pledging to source its pork from suppliers that don’t use the cruel crates. Their timeline isn’t exactly blistering but given the logistics of large supply chains we’d venture to say any improvement on this score is a good one. Over the next 10 years the company will phase out suppliers and by 2022 they will be gestation crate-free.
“At Oscar Mayer, we believe quality meat begins with quality animal care. We are committed to finding better ways to keep animals healthy and in a safe environment while treating them with respect,” – Sydney Lindner, the Associate Director of Oscar Mayer Corporate Affairs in a press release.
The Humane Society, who has been very active working with major food companies to eliminate the crates, applauded the move. Paul Shapiro, the Humane Society’s vice president of farm animal protection, believes that Oscar Meyer’s decision “sends a strong message to pork industry leaders who are resisting change.”
McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Hormel, Denny’s, Safeway, and Compass Foods are among manufacturers who’ve already made similar moves, pledging to phase out suppliers who maintain the practice in similar time frames. Kraft is the second largest food supplier in the world, so the move is not insignificant.