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Spam maker Hormel to treat its pigs better

February 03, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • Spam maker Hormel vows to get rid of gestation crates for its pigs by 2017
Spam maker Hormel vows to get rid of gestation crates for its pigs by 2017 (Hormel )

Do happier pigs make for better Spam?Hormel Foods Corp., which makes the gelatinous canned meat, is betting yes.

The Minnesota company said this week that it will stop using gestation crates by 2017. The crates, which are often so small that the pregnant hogs they house can’t move, will also be disavowed within five years by McRib pork provider Smithfield Foods Inc.

Seems like nowadays, with more consumers interested in the origin of what they eat, food purveyors and restaurant chains are taking care to highlight fresh, healthy – and presumably well-treated – fare.

Hormel keeps 54,000 breeding pigs at facilities in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, according to animal advocacy group the Humane Society. The group also used the opportunity to pressure other meat producers such as Tyson, Triumph and Seaboard to institute similar gestation crate phaseouts.

It’s been a busy few weeks in the animal welfare world. McDonald’s and Target both abandoned egg supplier Sparboe Egg Farms after nonprofit advocacy group Mercy for Animals released undercover footage showing mistreatment of hens and chicks.

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