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Food Industry Giant Criticized for Not Taking Steps to Curb Its Suppliers' Use of Cruel Gestation Crates for Pregnant Pigs
For Immediate Release:April 14, 2010
Contact:Stephanie Corrigan 757-622-7382
Northfield, Ill. -- PETA has purchased stock in Northfield-based packaged-food giant Kraft Foods, Inc., which owns Oscar Mayer, as part of a plan to pressure the company to phase in the purchase of pig meat from suppliers that don't confine pregnant sows to gestation crates. California, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Michigan, and Florida have all banned gestation crates, which are metal enclosures that are so small that animals who are confined to them can't even turn around or take a single step in any direction. Before purchasing stock, PETA repeatedly contacted Kraft with an offer to work together on this and other animal welfare issues privately, but Kraft never responded.
"When it comes to holding its suppliers accountable for abusing mother pigs, Kraft could take a cue from companies that are one-tenth its size," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Consumers care about animals, and unless Kraft moves with the times, its stockholders might pay the price."
Calvert--a leader in sustainable and responsible investing--has publicly asked Kraft to commit to phasing out gestation crates. A growing number of major restaurant and grocery chains--including Burger King, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Safeway, A&P, and Harris Teeter--have also taken steps to curb animal abuse by enacting policies to increase the amount of crate-free pig meat that they use.
A mother pig spends most of her life in an individual gestation crate measuring approximately 7 feet long and 2 feet wide. After her piglets are taken from her, each sow is impregnated again, and the cycle continues for three or four years before she is slaughtered. This intensive confinement produces stress- and boredom-related behaviors, such as incessant chewing on cage bars.
PETA is also calling on Kraft to disclose its existing animal welfare policy and supplier standards for pigs, poultry, and cows used for milk production.
Kraft is the largest food company in the U.S. and the second largest in the world. The company has annual revenues of $40 billion. In addition to Oscar Mayer--a dominant brand in the packaged-meats market--the company's other brands include Maxwell House, Nabisco, and Oreo. Kraft also recently acquired iconic British confectioner Cadbury.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
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