START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
3,207,078 people care about Animal Welfare

Safeway Moves Towards Eliminating Gestation Crates

Safeway Moves Towards Eliminating Gestation Crates

In more good news for animal welfare, yet another major company has stepped up to the plate with a pledge to eliminate gestation crates, also known as gestational crates, from its pork farming practices. Supermarket chain Safeway told its suppliers to start preparing alternatives to meet demand, as it intends to phase gestation crates out of its supply chain.

Suppliers have been ordered to come up with proposals by the end of 2014 if they want to keep the firm’s lucrative accounts, and they’re already scrambling to implement group housing for pigs raised for food.

Pigs are extremely intelligent, social animals, who love interacting with others and their environment. On a healthy and humane farm with room to roam, they form communities that enjoy a complex hierarchy and social life. In modern industrial farming, however, pigs are kept in horrific conditions with the intent of maximizing production. Sows are kept in gestation crates, which are long, narrow stalls, for the majority of their lives. The stalls are so small the animals cannot turn around and many can’t lie down, either, forced to stand on a slatted concrete floor (for easier waste management) until they’re ready to deliver their piglets, at which point they move to farrowing crates.

Farrowing crates are little better, in that they are large enough to lie down in. Sows are separated from their piglets by metal stanchions, with just enough room for the piglets to nurse, but not enough for mother and babies to interact. As soon as they’re old enough, they’re taken away, and their mothers are returned to gestation crates for another round of breeding and pregnancy.

Advocates for farrowing and gestational crates say they reduce behavioral problems like fighting, attacking piglets, or accidentally crushing piglets during sleep. Animal welfare advocates, on the other hand, argue that many of these behaviors are not natural, and come as a result of confinement, rather than being an innate problem with pigs. They push for better housing and conditions for food animals in order to provide them with the best possible lives before slaughter, and gestation crates have become a major cause, with several states including Florida and California banning them.

Firms including McDonald’s and Costco have pledged to get them out of their supply chain, with consumer pressure mounting on companies like Tyson Foods. Safeway joins nearly 60 other companies, according to the Humane Society of the United States, with its move towards group housing for pigs and elimination of gestational crates. As more companies push their suppliers to get rid of these inhumane and outdated farming practices, the pressure on holdouts mounts: consumers have a growing list of more humane choices they can use if they choose to eat meat.

This situation is an illustration of one way in which the market can work to the advantage of animal welfare. When people pressure the market to provide a supply of humane products, the market has to respond, or risk losing customers. The economics on alternatives to gestation crates are becoming stark, as educated consumers concerned about animal welfare ask for better choices, and suppliers are obliged to respond.

Read more: , , , ,

Photo credit: Jos.

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

107 comments

+ add your own
6:49AM PDT on Nov 1, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

7:51AM PST on Jan 11, 2014

yes! a step in the right direction! I eat little meat, but I do eat some.

11:40AM PST on Jan 10, 2014

No animal should live in crates!!! It is beyond cruelty!!!!

6:23AM PST on Jan 8, 2014

This is great news. Things are moving forward.

9:59AM PST on Jan 4, 2014

well atleast its a step forward x

12:12AM PST on Jan 4, 2014

Thank you to Safeway and the other 60 stores who have decided against purchasing from those who use this cruel inhumane practice!

10:48PM PST on Jan 3, 2014

As long as we the people continue to let big business know they cant do anything they want life for all beings will improve. Remember the people who buy from u are watching and most do care about how their food is treated.....

10:37PM PST on Jan 3, 2014

Thanks.

8:49PM PST on Jan 3, 2014

I should've also said not only profits over people, but profits over animal welfare and profits over...well everything.

8:48PM PST on Jan 3, 2014

Thanks. It's a good step, albeit a small one. Petition also signed.

Barbara L., I agree with you since that's all they care about: profits over people and to a lesser extent corporate image.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

This is what the goverment started with privatizing prisons, they accepted the kick-back from the coporations…

What does the terms of the lease say in regard to the Mall? Many lease agreements for the 'anchor' stores…

ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.