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U.S. pork industry sees switch to more costly pens

by 5m Editor
4 March 2007, at 6:39pm

CALIFORNIA - Pork producers see growing pressure for elimination of sow gestation stalls and a return to more costly open pen hog production over the next couple of years.

"It could be two to four times as expensive because of square footage requirements," said Randy Spronk, partner in Spronk Brothers III, a 3,000 head sow operation in Minnesota. "The customers are asking for it - they're asking for another way and you need to respond to that."

Pork producers attending the annual National Pork Forum here were told this will be one of the major issues they will have to address as consumers show more interest in the production and raising of farm animals.

Over the past few years animal rights groups have increased their effort to mandate animal care practices and the use of gestation stalls for pregnant sows has come under fire. And delegates here attending the National Pork Forum are ready to vote on proposals that would have pork producers be more aggressive in animal welfare.

Two states, Florida in 2002 and Arizona in 2006, passed propositions that prohibit the use of gestation stalls for pregnant sows. Also, fast food restaurants and retailers are increasingly being pressured by animal rights organizations to ensure that animal products have come from animals raised humanely.

The industry has been taking note of the drive to eliminate the stalls with a couple of large pork producers planning to phase out the stalls.

Source: Reuters

5m Editor