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HSUS Claims Cargill to phase out pig crates

by 5m Editor
13 April 2007, at 11:45am

WASHINGTON - Agribusiness company Cargill Inc. has told an animal rights group it is phasing out the use of gestation stalls that house pregnant pigs.

The decision is the latest example of a U.S. company putting greater emphasis on animal welfare.

Cargill, based in Wayzata, Minn., made the announcement in a recent letter to the Humane Society of the United States. The company was responding to the group's request to follow the lead of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest pork processor, which announced in January it was phasing out the gestation crates.

Dirk Jones, president of Cargill Pork, a division of Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions, told the animal rights group that Cargill has been moving to "group sow housing" over the past four years and has converted more than half of its company-owned and contract production farms.

"We are an industry leader, with the conversion process well under way," Jones wrote. A similar letter was sent to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

In group sow housing, the adult female pigs are kept in a pen and can walk around. In contrast, the 2-foot-by-7-foot metal gestation crates do not allow the pregnant sows to turn around.

Animal rights groups say the crates are cruel and inhumane.

Last month, Burger King Corp. announced it would increase purchases of pork from suppliers that do not keep their animals in crates. Also, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck said he would only use crate-free pork.

Source: Associated Press

5m Editor