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March 8, 2012

HSUS Statement on World’s Largest Food Service Company’s Announcement to Eliminate Gestation Crates from its Pork Supply Chain

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Compass Group, the largest food service company in the world, for moving to end the use of cruel and inhumane gestation crates in its supply chain by 2017. The company runs 10,000 dining facilities at schools, hospitals, corporate offices and other venues in the United States.

“Compass Group’s commitment for a gestation crate-free supply chain again demonstrates this company’s leadership on animal welfare and corporate social responsibility,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “This announcement provides yet another major signal to the pork industry: it must start listening to consumer sentiment on animal welfare and stop confining pigs in metal cages barely larger than their bodies.”

In the pork industry, most breeding pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates, then they are placed into another crate to give birth. They are re-impregnated and put back into a gestation crate, pregnancy after pregnancy, until they are slaughtered. These crates are about two feet by seven feet, and the pigs cannot even turn around. It adds up to years of extreme confinement, to the point of virtual immobilization.

Compass Group’s announcement follows McDonald’s commitment to eliminate gestation crates in its supply chain. Bon Appétit Management Company, a food service provider that operates more than 400 cafés for corporations, universities, and other venues, committed in February to be gestation crate-free by 2015. Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill is already 50 percent crate-free. Eight U.S. states have banned the practice and others, like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, have bills pending that would outlaw gestation crates.

 

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

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