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Harris Teeter Eliminates Sow Stalls

31 August 2012, at 8:26am

US - Harris Teeter Supermarkets has announced new commitments to improve animal welfare in its supply chain, including the elimination of gestation crates from its pork supply. The company has more than 200 locations and annual sales above $4 billion

“Harris Teeter knows that there are better, more humane, and more sustainable ways to breed pigs than by using gestation crates,“ states the company in the new Animal Welfare section of its website.

“It is Harris Teeter’s goal to have a gestation crate-free pork supply, and the company is committed to working with its suppliers…to accomplish that goal within a reasonable timeframe.“

The Humane Society of the United States supports Harris Teeter’s progress: “Harris Teeter has demonstrated time after time its commitment to improving animal welfare in its supply chain,“ stated Matthew Prescott, food policy director for The HSUS.

“Americans don’t want pigs confined in tiny cages so small they can’t even turn around, and Harris Teeter’s work to eliminate that practice is commendable.“

The similar announcements made recently by Kroger, Safeway, Costco, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, SUBWAY, Oscar Mayer and other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that leaves most mother 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 prevent them from even turning around. Mother pigs are subsequently transferred into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate.

This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.