February 2, 2012
Hormel Foods—Maker of SPAM—Announces Plans to Eliminate Gestation Crates
The creator of the iconic SPAM product, Hormel, announced this week that it is committing to phase out gestation crate confinement of pigs at all company-owned facilities by 2017. The Humane Society of the United States had been pressuring Hormel to make such a commitment and is encouraged by the company’s announcement, which was made in response to an HSUS spokesperson pressing the issue at Hormel’s shareholder meeting this week.
The HSUS’ president and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, released the following statement:
“This is great news from Hormel. This decision brings us closer to the day when the cruel confinement of pigs in gestation crates will be a bygone era for the entire pork industry. We thank Hormel for making this decision and urge the company to also apply it to any contract pig breeders it may use. We also urge Hormel’s competitors such as Tyson, Triumph, Prestage and Seaboard to stop lagging behind and get on the gestation-crate free pathway.”
News of Hormel’s policy comes just six weeks after Smithfield Foods—the nation’s largest pork producer—announced a recommitment to phase out gestation crates by 2017, and just days after The HSUS’ widely-publicized release of undercover investigations documenting appalling animal abuse at two Oklahoma gestation crate confinement facilities.
Hormel has 54,000 breeding pigs at three facilities in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. Arizona and Colorado have both passed laws to ban gestation crates by the end of the 2012 and 2017, respectively, though Wyoming has no such law.
- Gestation crates are used to confine breeding pigs for virtually their entire lives.
- Eight states and the European Union have passed laws to phase out gestation crates.
- Animal welfare expert and advisor to the pork industry, Dr. Temple Grandin, states that gestation crates “are a real problem” and “have to go.”
- Extensive scientific research confirms that confining sows in gestation crates is detrimental to animal welfare.
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