August 25, 2009
The HSUS Urges Smithfield Foods to Follow Through on Animal Welfare Promises
At Smithfield Foods' annual shareholder meeting in Williamsburg, Va. tomorrow, a Humane Society of the United States representative will urge the company to uphold its self-imposed deadline for its commitment to stop confining pregnant pigs in gestation crates.
When: August 26, 2009 at 2:00 PM
Where: Williamsburg Lodge: 310 S. England Street, Williamsburg, Va.
In 2007, Smithfield announced that it would phase-out its use of gestation crates—individual, two-foot-wide metal enclosures that prevent pigs from turning around—within ten years. The HSUS applauded this move as an important step toward improving animal welfare in the industry. Despite the company's 2007 pledge, Smithfield recently revealed that while it still intends to stop using gestation crates, due to economic concerns it has removed its deadline for doing so.
"Smithfield's original timetable for its phase-out of gestation crates was already very lengthy, given the prolonged suffering that the animals endure in these extreme confinement systems," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "Additional delays in implementing the ban are just not acceptable as a matter of animal welfare or consumer relations."
- In a landslide November vote, Californians approved the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, making the extreme confinement of pigs in gestation crates a criminal offense (with a phase-out). California is the country's top agricultural state. Gestation crates have also been banned in Maine, Colorado, Florida, Arizona and Oregon.
- Major retailers such as Burger King, Wendy's, Quiznos, Hardee's and Carl's Jr.—and many Smithfield customers—are decreasing their use of pork from producers that use gestation crates.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty—on the web at humanesociety.org.