Statement From Wayne Pacelle On Decision to Phase Out Gestation Crates In CO
(December 19, 2007)—Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, released the following statement in response to the plans of the Colorado Pork Producers Council to phase out the confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates in the state:
“We applaud the announcement by the Colorado Pork Producers Council to phase out the confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates in Colorado, and transition to group housing systems over the next ten years. There are nearly 150,000 breeding sows in gestation crates in Colorado, and they deserve some semblance of basic humane treatment such as the ability to turn around and extend their limbs.
While Colorado’s pork industry has taken an important step in the right direction, other sectors of agribusiness must do the same. Approximately 3.8 million egg-laying hens in Colorado are confined in barren, wire, battery cages, in which each bird has less space than a single sheet of paper to live her entire life. Egg producers should make a similar commitment, given that these two confinement systems raise the same basic moral issues. We support industry reforms and corporate policies on these practices, but there is no substitute for legal standards that codify the most basic humane treatment of farm animals.”
Colorado joins Florida, Arizona, and Oregon porducers that already prohibit gestation crates. The largest pig producer in the world, Smithfield Foods, is phasing out its use of gestation crates. Maple Leaf Foods, Canada’s largest pig producer, is doing the same. And many major food retailers are moving away from supporting gestation crates and battery cages. Wolfgang Puck is ending his use of pork from crated sows and eggs from caged hens. Burger King, Hardee’s, and Carl’s Jr. have started phasing in pork and eggs from producers that don’t use gestation crates and battery cages. And just this week, Compass Group, the world's largest food service provider, announced it is implementing a cage-free egg policy in the United States.