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Even McDonald’s Says Hog Crates Are Inhumane

Even McDonald’s Says Hog Crates Are Inhumane

By Margaret Badore for

This week, McDonald’s stated that they will be requiring all U.S. pork suppliers to stop using hog crates and gestation stalls. These crates are cages that tightly confine an animal’s movements, preventing them from being able to turn around and in some cases to walk at all. Gestation crates are used to keep pregnant sows separate from one another and preventing aggressive behavior.

Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society’s CEO, says the move will have “seismic impact” on animal welfare, and that the choice not only demonstrates that abandoning the use of hog crates is morally right but also economically feasible.

McDonald’s is one of the largest buyers of pork products in the United States, with offerings like the McRib and various sausage sandwiches. The fast food company accounts for about one percent of the total pork consumption in the country.

Other restaurant chains have moved away from suppliers who use gestation crates, including Wendy’s, Hardee’s and Burger King. Chipotle Mexican Grill has ended all relationships with suppliers using the crates, as illustrated in this moving commercial that aired during the Grammy’s.

Many pork suppliers in turn have made steps to reduce the use of hog crates, particularly as animal welfare groups have been pushing for legislation banning them. Cargill says it has already adopted group pens for pregnant sows, while Smithfield Foods and Hormel Foods say they will get rid of gestation crates by 2017.

Regardless of your stance on the McRib, fast food or eating meat at all, getting corporations like McDonald’s to push for less cruelty in the livestock industry can be a huge force for good. However, given the large number of other ethical and health problems with the commercial meat industry, abandoning hog crates seems like a drop in the bucket. If only they would demand more.

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1:45AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

A good first step even though they are only doing it because they were pressured.

1:28AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

It is a huge force for good to get them to treat the "livestock" better during their lives. It is still wrong that it ends in those "livestock" being brutally murdered.

That shouldn't be the two choices. Be tortured & then murdered or have a decent life and then get murdered.

7:56AM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

Way to go McDonalds!!!

3:27PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

Very good!

9:32PM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Thanks for the article

9:48AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Thank you, we need more corporate food suppliers to condemn factory farm practices that are cruel to the animals. Try not to eat meat, it is better for you and the planet!

5:01AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

One step at a time. Then, another step, and another. One of these days, we will get there!!

6:09AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Good for them.

12:37PM PST on Mar 2, 2012


8:45PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

drop in the bucket indeed...oh well, i guess baby steps, baby steps...

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