McDonald's to Help End 'Sow Stall' Use

They've vowed to work with their pork producers to end the use of gestational crates
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Remember that awful video of the poor pigs reportedly at Smithfield Farms, the pork supplier for McRibs? Well, it looks like that video got us somewhere.

McDonald's has vowed to help end the use of gestational crates by working with their producers to phase out the so-called "sow stalls."

The company has announced that they will ask pork providers for plans to reduce the use of getational crates, and the company would respond to those plans in May.

"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,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management, in a press release.

The fast-food giant's decision is supported by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which initially filed the inhumane treatment complaint against Smithfield and released the gruesome video in November.

"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," HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle said.

Sow stalls are typically only 2 feet by 7 feet, and staying in a stationary position for an average pregnancy often leads to urinary tract infections, weaked bone structures, mental stress, and more health issues for sows.

HSUS representatives think that McDonald's stance on gestation crates will spur change in the industry, more so than previous HSUS efforts. "This announcement by McDonald’s today does more to put the writing on the wall for the pork industry than anything that’s happened previously,” Paul Shapiro of HSUS told The New York Times.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.

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