March 13, 2012
Shareholder Proposal Calls On Bob Evans to Improve Standards for Pigs Raised for Its Products
The Humane Society of the United States submitted a shareholder proposal encouraging Columbus, Ohio-based Bob Evans Farms restaurant chain and food manufacturer to develop a plan that would ensure its sausage, bacon and other pork products no longer come from pigs bred using gestation crates — cages used to virtually immobilize breeding pigs for nearly their entire lives. This practice is one of the most cruel and inhumane abuses in the agriculture industry.
In the pork industry, most breeding pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates, then 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 barely larger than the pigs’ own bodies.
“Consumers are opposed to confining pigs in cages so small they can’t even turn around,” said Josh Balk, director of corporate policy for The HSUS' farm animal protection division. “For too long Bob Evans has been out of step with consumers by supporting extreme confinement of farm animals. It’s unconscionable, and puts this company way behind its competition.”
In February, McDonald’s announced plans to shepherd in a gestation crate-free supply chain, stating that “there are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows” and “McDonald’s wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our supply chain.”
Gestation crates have been banned in eight U.S. states, including Ohio, Bob Evans’ home state. Leading animal scientists have objected to gestation crates, including Dr. Temple Grandin who stated, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”
The proposal will be voted on at the company’s annual meeting in August. 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 majority of Americans think gestation crates are inhumane.
- Major U.S. pork producers such as Smithfield Foods, Cargill and Hormel have begun moving away from gestation crates.
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