McDonald’s Corp. says it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to provide plans by May to phase out the use of stalls that confine pregnant sows.
The Humane Society of the United States is touting Monday’s announcement as a major victory in its fight to stop the use of the stalls it considers inhumane.
Some of McDonald’s suppliers have already announced plans to phase out the stalls, reports the Associated Press. The joint statement released Monday by McDonald’s and the Humane Society says the fast food chain wants all its of its suppliers to do so.
McDonald’s spokesman Dan Gorsky says suppliers including Smithfield Foods and Cargill have made progress in adopting alternatives to so-called gestation crates and the company will discuss the next steps with all of its suppliers after receiving their plans.
The National Pork Board issued a statement recognizing that“food companies, including McDonald's, make decisions in the best interests of their businesses.
At the same time, the National Pork Board maintains the position, supported by the American Veterinary Medicine Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, that there are numerous ways, including sow gestation stalls, to provide proper care for sows. Each housing system, including gestation stalls, open pens, free-access stalls and pastures, has welfare advantages and disadvantages that must be considered by an individual farmer. Regardless of the type of system used, what really matters is the individual care given to each pig - a mainstay of our industry's Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.
The National Pork Board looks forward to sharing the results of peer-reviewed research it has conducted in the areas of animal care and food safety as McDonald's begins implementing its decision.”
Source: Associated Press, National Pork Board