Spam manufacturer improves sow welfare

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hormel foods, United states, Livestock, Pork

Spam manufacturer improves sow welfare
US pork processor Hormel Foods has announced it will eliminate gestation crates from all its production plants by 2018.

The company said its Arizona farms would complete the transition by the end of summer 2012, and that its Colorado and Wyoming sites would follow to achieve 100% group sow housing by 2018. It added that its independent suppliers also had to follow stringent animal welfare guidelines.

“To ensure the requirements at Hormel Foods for animal care are upheld, the majority of our hogs are purchased via contractual agreements. In the contract, each hog producer agrees to comply with local, state and federal laws and qualifications outlined in the Hormel Foods Quality Assurance Program, which includes an animal care component,”​ Hormel said.

The move was welcomed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which said it “had been pressuring” ​the company to take that step. “This is great news from Hormel. This decision brings us closer to the day when the cruel confinement of pigs in gestation crates will be a bygone era for the entire pork industry. We thank Hormel for making this decision and urge the company to also apply it to any contract pig breeders it may use. We also urge Hormel’s competitors, such as Tyson, Triumph, Prestage and Seaboard, to stop lagging behind and get on the gestation-crate free pathway,”​ said HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle.

Hormel has 54,000 breeding pigs at three farms in Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado, and secures hogs from over 775 independent farmers across the Midwest.

Six weeks ago, Smithfield Foods, the largest American pork producer, also committed to phase out gestation crates by 2017. According to HSUS, Cargill is 50% gestation crate-free, and the organisation is currently trying to convince Tyson Foods to follow the path of its competitors.

Related topics: Meat

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