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Animal Welfare League of Arlington and The HSUS Praised for Work Throughout Arlington County

County-based animal shelter and national nonprofit work together to advance animal welfare

  • The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington were recognized by Chairwoman Hynes for their animal welfare efforts throughout Arlington.   Laura Donahue/The HSUS

Chairwoman Mary Hughes Hynes of the Arlington County Board issued a proclamation commending the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, The Humane Society of the United States, and Arlington residents for working together to improve the treatment of animals, including farm animals in the food industry.  The proclamation also calls on Arlington residents to use their power as consumers to seek changes in the local food supply.    

“The AWLA thanks Chairwoman Hynes for her recognition of our commitment to increase awareness of the need for better treatment of farm animals,” said Neil Trent, CEO and president of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. “No animal, whether a dog or cat, or a pig or chicken, deserves to be confined in a state of virtual immobilization for her entire life. It’s time for the food industry to recognize this.” 

The HSUS has worked with a number of Virginia residents and businesses to help reduce animal suffering in factory farms. In 2011, Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer with its headquarters in Virginia, committed to phasing out the use of gestation crates in its company-owned facilities by 2017. Arlington County Schools, as well as Henrico County Schools, Isle of Wight County Schools, George Mason University and the University of Virginia, now participate in Meatless Monday by offering more meat-free options one day a week. Many restaurants in Alexandria, Falls Church and Leesburg have also joined Meatless Monday. 

“The Humane Society of the United States is honored to be recognized by Chairwoman Hynes for our efforts to improve the lives of all animals,” said Laura Donahue, Virginia state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We’re thrilled to work with Arlington residents who care so deeply about how animals are treated and want to see an end to cruel and abusive practices.”   

Today’s industrialized factory farms use production systems that are out of step with mainstream American values. For example, in the pork industry most breeding pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates – cages roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies, preventing them from even turning around. They are then placed 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.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington and The Humane Society of the United States received an official proclamation from Chairwoman Hynes on Tuesday, December 4 at the Arlington County Board offices.


  • Since February 2012, major food retailers—including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Kraft (Oscar Mayer), Target, Heinz, Campbell Soup, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Sonic, Baja Fresh, Kmart, Compass Group, ARAMARK, Sysco, Campbell Soup Company, SUBWAY, Wienerschnitzel, ConAgra Foods and Dunkin’ Brands—have announced that they will eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains.
  • Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban gestation crates, seven have banned veal crates, and four have outlawed the practice of cattle tail docking.
  • Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is clear on the issue of gestation crates, stating: “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.”

Media Note: Photos available from today’s presentation. 

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org