September 28, 2011
Shareholder Resolution Urges Seaboard to Prevent Cruelty to Pigs
SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan. — The Humane Society of the United States submitted a shareholder resolution asking Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based Seaboard Foods to create a plan for phasing out its confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates.
Gestation crates are cages used to virtually immobilize breeding pigs for nearly their entire lives. The animals are confined in these crates during their four-month pregnancy, placed into another crate to give birth, then put back into a gestation crate—pregnancy after pregnancy—until they are slaughtered.
Phasing out these crates would not only be more humane, a study conducted by Iowa State University concluded that it’s more economical to raise breeding pigs in groups, rather than individual crates.
"Seaboard appears to be behind the times on this issue," stated Matthew Prescott, director of corporate policy for The HSUS' farm animal protection campaign. "By switching to group housing, Seaboard could greatly reduce animal suffering and improve its bottom line."
Eight U.S. states and the European Union have outlawed and are phasing out gestation crates. Major companies like Wendy’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Sonic, Quiznos, Wolfgang Puck, Safeway, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter and Winn-Dixie have begun transitioning away from pork produced using gestation crates. Seaboard competitors Smithfield, Cargill and Maple Leaf Foods and have also begun moving away from gestation crates.
Renowned farm animal expert Dr. Temple Grandin, unequivocally states that “gestation stalls have got to go.”
A copy of The HSUS's shareholder resolution is available upon request.
- About 70 percent of breeding sows in the United States are confined in crates so small the animals can barely move for their entire lives. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
- An American Farm Bureau-funded poll found that the vast majority of consumers think gestation crates are inhumane.
- Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy, Technomic, ranked animal welfare as the third-most important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89 percent of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing.
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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.