February 21, 2013
Pro Race Car Driver Leilani Münter Thanks Harris Teeter for Animal Welfare Progress at Company’s Shareholder Meeting
The Humane Society of the United States and Charlotte-based racer team up to praise progress
The Humane Society of the United States teamed up with Charlotte-based race car driver Leilani Münter—who Sports Illustrated named one of the world’s top female race car drivers— to thank Harris Teeter Supermarkets for improving animal welfare in its supply chain at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
Harris Teeter announced in 2012 that it would work to ensure that its pork supply chain is free of gestation crates—cages used to confine breeding pigs, leaving them virtually immobilized for nearly their entire lives.
“Like so many Americans, I’m concerned with how pigs are treated by the pork industry,” said Münter, who publicly thanked Harris Teeter at its meeting. “Thanking a company like Harris Teeter for taking social responsibility seriously is the least I can do to show my support for their work to improve life for pigs and other farm animals.”
“The food industry has spoken loud and clear that gestation crates need to become a thing of the past, and companies like Harris Teeter are helping pave the way toward making that happen,” said Matthew Prescott, food policy director for The HSUS.
Similar announcements made recently by Oscar Mayer, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and nearly 50 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.
- 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
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