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February 2, 2012

Tyson Execs To Be Questioned About Cruelty to Pigs at Company’s Annual Meeting

Meat Giant Lags Behind Competitors on Animal Welfare

At the annual shareholder meeting of Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) on Friday, a representative of The Humane Society of the United States will question company executives about why it has no plans to end the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in its pork supply.

Location: Holiday Inn NW Arkansas Convention Center, 1500 S. 48th St., Springdale, Ark.

Time: 10 a.m.

Date: Friday, Feb. 3

Nearly all breeding pigs used for Tyson’s pork products are confined in gestation crates, cages so small the animals can’t even turn around for their entire four-month pregnancy. They are then placed into another small crate to give birth, then put back into a gestation crate, pregnancy after pregnancy, until they are slaughtered.

Tyson competitors have already announced plans to move away from gestation crates. Just this week, Hormel Foods announced its plans to phase out gestation crates by 2017. Smithfield Foods announced last month it will be 100 percent gestation crate-free for its company-owned operations in five years. And Cargill is already 50 percent gestation crate-free.

“Tyson allows pigs to be crammed into crates so small they can’t even turn around,” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of farm animal protection for The HSUS. “It’s time for Tyson to ensure gestation crates aren’t used in its supply chain.”

Extensive scientific research confirms that this confinement causes suffering. Renowned animal scientist and Tyson Foods advisor Temple Grandin, Ph. D., states, “I feel very strongly that we've got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”

Eight U.S. states and the European Union have passed laws to outlaw gestation crates. Major pork retailers like Burger King, Wendy’s, Chipotle, Sonic, Quizno’s, Safeway and Whole Foods have policies to reduce or eliminate their use of pork from pigs bred using gestation crates. On Tuesday, two new HSUS undercover investigations revealed appalling animal abuse at Oklahoma gestation crate confinement facilities.

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Media Contact:

Anna West, awest@humanesociety.org, 301-258-1518

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