In a move we hope will echo throughout the food service world, McDonald’s announced yesterday that they will be phasing out gestation crates for pigs.
Arguably one of the cruelest practices that exists on factory farms, gestation crates are small metal cages that sows are kept in for the duration of their pregnancies. The crates are so small the pigs are unable to turn around. It would be like living in a coffin for months at a time, only coffins would be a roomier choice. And all of this for a creature smarter than the average dog.
Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management, said about the decision, “McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future. There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows.”
The New York Times reports that “60 to 70 percent of the more than five million breeding sows in the United States are kept in the crates.”
Animal protection powerhouse HSUS is behind the announcement and worked with McDonald’s to improve conditions for farmed pigs. Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS, said about the move, “All animals deserve humane treatment, including farm animals, and it’s just wrong to immobilize animals for their whole lives in crates barely larger than their bodies.”
We couldn’t agree more and hope that these important changes in the way that companies like McDonald’s do business continue to progress for the sake of the ten billion animals that are killed for food in the US each year.