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McDonald's wants better treatment for pregnant pigs

February 13, 2012|By Pat Benson
  • These female breeding pigs are in gestation crates at a Virginia factory farm owned by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods in Waverly, Va. McDonald's said Monday that it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to provide plans by May to phase out the use of stalls that confine pregnant sows. Smithfield Foods had already announced plans to phase out the stalls.
These female breeding pigs are in gestation crates at a Virginia factory… (Humane Society of the United…)

McDonald's Corp. says it wants its pork suppliers to start treating pregnant pigs better.

The fast-food giant said Monday that it is requiring suppliers to provide plans by May to phase out stalls like the one in the photo above that restrict the movement of pregnant pigs. It made the announcement in a joint statement with the Humane Society of the United States.

"There are alternatives that we think are better for sows," said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of the company's North America Supply Chain Management.

The Humane Society called McDonald's decision a major victory in its fight to stop inhumane treatment of animals. The purveyor of the Sausage McMuffin is one of the largest customers of the pork industry.

Some of McDonald's suppliers, including Cargill and Smithfield Foods, have already announced plans to phase out the stalls.

McDonald's made the announcement after rival Chipotle Mexican Grill debuted a TV commercial during the Grammy's about its longtime crate ban. Chipotle began requiring its pork suppliers to raise pigs outside or in large cages and use antibiotic-free and vegetarian food 11 years ago. McDonald’s spun off Chipotle in 2006.

Click here to read McDonald's press release.

And click here to read the response from a pork industry trade group.

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