November 8, 2013
Ahold USA Pledges to Eliminate Controversial Pig Cages from Pork Supply Chain
Nation’s fourth largest grocery chain becomes latest food company to address this critical animal welfare issue
Ahold USA, the parent company of Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro, Giant Carlisle and Giant Landover with nearly 770 supermarkets in 13 states, along with Peapod, the nation’s leading online grocery shopping and delivery service, announced it is eliminating the lifelong confinement of pigs in cages from its supply chain.
The cages, used to confine breeding pigs so they are unable to turn around, have been criticized in recent years by animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, veterinarians and the food industry alike. This announcement earned applause from The Humane Society of the United States.
“We have set the goal that our suppliers will have moved from the daily use of gestation crates to open housing by 2022,” Ahold wrote. “Our intention is to work with suppliers who share our company’s values and who take a progressive approach to animal welfare.”
Josh Balk, director of food policy for The HSUS said, “We applaud Ahold USA’s move to join its peers in the food industry in addressing one of the most critical animal welfare issues in food production today. This industry titan’s decision to eliminate the perpetual confinement of breeding pigs inside small cages from their supply chain reinforces the food industry’s view of gestation crates as unsustainable and inhumane.”
Similar announcements made recently by Oscar Mayer, McDonald’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Quiznos and nearly 60 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-long pregnancies. This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.
- Nine U.S. states and the European Union have passed laws to ban the continual gestation crate confinement of breeding pigs, while many family farmers have been raising pigs without the use of gestation crates for generations.
- Renowned animal welfare scientist and pork industry advisor, 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.”
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