TrustHouse Services Group, one of the country’s largest food service providers, will improve animal welfare by eliminating pig gestation crates from its pork supply chain, garnering praise from The Humane Society of the United States. The Charlotte-based company is the country’s sixth-largest food service business, operating 670 dining locations in 44 states.
As part of its new initiative, TrustHouse is working with its suppliers to phase-out gestation crates within the company’s supply chain by 2017. TrustHouse is also calling on the entire pork industry to set a timeline on eliminating gestation crates.
“American consumers clearly oppose the idea of confining a mother pig in a cage so small she can barely move her entire life,” said Mark Fortino, president of FitzVogt, a TrustHouse division. “Eliminating gestation crates within our supply chain is the right thing to do for the animals, family farmers, our company and our clients.”
“TrustHouse is demonstrating once again that gestation crates have no place in our food system,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States applauds TrustHouse for their leadership on this issue. This announcement further underscores the need for the pork industry to develop plans for getting rid of gestation crates industry-wide.”
For four months at a time, while pregnant, most pigs are confined day and night in gestation crates, cages roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies, preventing them from even turning around. They are placed into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and then put back into a gestation crate. This cycle repeats, pregnancy after pregnancy, for their entire lives, adding up to years of near immobilization.
- McDonald’s, Burger King, Costco, Kraft, Kroger, Safeway, Wendy’s, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Sonic, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Baja Fresh, and Compass Group recently announced that they will eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains.
- Pork providers 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.
- Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban the practice and Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey have bills pending that would do the same.
- TrustHouse recently switched a significant portion of its egg purchases to producers that provide a cage-free environment for hens.
- Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Dr. Temple Grandin, is clear on the issue of gestation crates for pigs: “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."