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January 23, 2013

IHOP and Applebee’s Eliminating Controversial Pig Cages from Supply Chains

The HSUS Welcomes Restaurant Giants’ Progress

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Glendale, Calif.-based DineEquity, owner of restaurant icons IHOP and Applebee’s, for its newly announced policy to eliminate controversial gestation crates from its pork supply chain. Gestation crates are cages used to tightly confine breeding pigs to the point the animals can’t even turn around.

Combined, IHOP and Applebee’s have more than 3,400 locations in all 50 states.

Kevin Mortesen, DineEquity`s vice president of communications, released the following statement about the company`s new policy: 

“Today, we are pleased to announce that DineEquity expects all of our vendors to phase out the practice known as ‘pig gestation crating.’ By 2020, Applebee's and IHOP will only serve pork products that are produced without the use of gestation crates. We recognize there are challenges to meeting this goal, but as one of the world`s largest full-service restaurant companies, we are confident our suppliers will meet our expectations and work with us to achieve this objective.”

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds IHOP and Applebee’s for addressing one of the most critical animal welfare issues in food production today,” stated Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for The HSUS. “These companies, with their vast purchasing network, have made it even clearer to the pork industry that the time has come to innovate away from inhumane gestation crates.”

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

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