Oscar Mayer certainly has a way with b-o-l-o-n-g-a, but until now it hasn’t been a very humane way. The company, owned by Kraft Foods, seems to have realized this and has recently pledged to source its pork exclusively from suppliers that do not use gestation crates. Pregnant sows spend most of their lives in these metal cages, which are usually so cramped the pigs can’t move.
The Humane Society welcomed the news of Oscar Mayer’s efforts; the company plans to phase out crates within the next 10 years. As the second-largest food company in the world, Kraft and Oscar Mayer’s efforts "send a strong message to pork industry leaders who are resisting change," said Humane Society vice president of farm animal protection Paul Shapiro.
Oscar Mayer joins a list of nine states and several other pork producers and retailers that have banned the practice. Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to ban the practice by 2017, while McDonald’s has also set a 10-year time frame to eliminate the crates. Burger King, Safeway, Wendy’s, and Denny’s have all promised to do the same by working with their suppliers. Kroger has also encouraged faster elimination of the crates. To date, Domino’s has notably resisted pressure to change its practices.
"At Oscar Mayer, we believe quality meat begins with quality animal care," said associate director of corporate affairs for Oscar Mayer Sydney Lindner in a press release. "We are committed to finding better ways to keep animals healthy and in a safe environment while treating them with respect."