You may remember Smithfield Foods’ big January announcement that it is phasing out the use of gestation crates, followed shortly by Maple Leaf Foods’ decision to follow suit, and Burger King’s recent adoption of a new animal welfare plan that includes, among other things, reducing the amount of pig meat it purchases from suppliers that use crates. Well, we just got word from execs at another major pig meat producer (one of the world’s largest, in fact), Cargill Foods—which we had been encouraging to follow Smithfield’s lead—that it’s going to come through in a big way: Cargill has stopped using gestation crates in 50 percent of its pig factory farms!
We’re not breaking out the champagne just yet, as the company hasn’t agreed to a total phase-out of gestation crates, but this is a firm step in the right direction, and just another positive sign of big changes to come throughout the industry. Of course, PETA doesn’t make a secret of the fact that we don’t want any pigs bred or slaughtered for food, but the pigs who are there right now don’t have the luxury of hunkering down for a long campaign to win people’s hearts and minds about the injustices of industrialized farming. While we keep pushing companies behind the scenes to stop torturing animals, like, at all, millions of animals right now will experience a significant improvement in the quality of their lives. Which is pretty good for a given work day. I’ll let you know once they’ve gotten rid of gestation crates entirely. We’re working on it.