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October 11, 2012

The Cheesecake Factory to Eliminate Controversial Pig Cages from Pork Supply Chain

The HSUS Welcomes Restaurant Chain’s Efforts

The Humane Society of the United States applauded The Cheesecake Factory for joining a list of more than 30 major food companies that have announced they will eliminate controversial gestation crates—cages used to confine breeding pigs—from their pork supply chains.

The Cheesecake Factory operates 173 full-service, casual dining restaurants throughout the U.S.

“We have already taken steps to engage our pork suppliers to gain an understanding of their plans for transitioning away from the use of gestation crates and their timeline for doing so,” said The Cheesecake Factory in a statement. “We are currently working with them to develop plans to eliminate gestation crates from our pork supply chain by a 2022 target date.”

“We applaud The Cheesecake Factory for tackling one of the most serious farm animal welfare problems as part of the company’s commitment to sustainability,” stated Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for The HSUS. “Cheesecake Factory’s commitment to eliminate gestation crates is further indication these cages have no future in the pork industry.”

The similar announcements made recently by Oscar Mayer, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that leaves most breeding pigs confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy. These cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and designed to prevent them from even turning around. The animals are subsequently transferred into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization. This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.

Facts

  • Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban the gestation crate confinement of mother pigs.
  • Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is clear on this issue: “Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life.” Grandin further states, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”
  • Leading pork producers 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.

 

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

 

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