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December 5, 2012

Royal Caribbean to Eliminate Controversial Pig Cages from Pork Supply Chain as Latest Corporate Responsibility Move

The Humane Society of the United States praises cruise line operator

        

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world’s second-largest cruise operator, for its announcement that it will eliminate controversial gestation crates—cages used to confine breeding pigs—from its pork supply chain, becoming the latest in a growing list of major food companies to address this issue.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. In 2011, the Miami-based cruise line’s 41 ships served more than 20 million guests globally.

“Royal Caribbean is committed to keeping the treatment of animals in consideration when supplying our fleet with food,” said Michael Jones, vice president of supply chain management for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Royal Caribbean supports the pork industry’s work to eliminate gestation crates from operation by 2022, and our company has set that date as our target for having a gestation crate-free pork supply chain.”

The Humane Society of the United States supports Royal Caribbean’s progress.

“Royal Caribbean has a long-standing animal welfare program and has been a good partner in working toward improved conditions for animals,” stated Matthew Prescott, food policy director for The HSUS. “By eliminating gestation crates, Royal Caribbean is taking a positive step away from a practice that people and companies worldwide have condemned.”

The similar announcements made recently by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Oscar Mayer, Sysco, Carnival Cruise Lines 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:

  • The European Union and nine U.S. states—including Florida, Carnival’s U.S. headquarters—have passed laws to ban the gestation crate confinement of breeding 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:

For Royal Caribbean: Cynthia Martinez, cynthiamartinez@rccl.com, 305-982-2458

For The HSUS: Anna West, awest@humanesociety.org, 301-258-1518

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