Smithfield states, “Due to recent significant operating losses incurred by our Hog Production segment, we have delayed capital expenditures for the program such that we no longer expect to complete the phase-out within ten years of the original announcement.”
These gestation crates that Smithfield is dragging its feet on phasing out are called “iron maidens” after medieval torture devices, and for good reason—sows kept in them cannot turn around, and their muscles atrophy. Over time, pigs kept in these horrid conditions develop sores from lying on filthy concrete and go insane from the confinement.
Consider that just three years’ compensation for Smithfield’s directors would more than cover the cost of a complete crate phase-out. Smithfield’s claim that it can’t spare pennies a pig to improve these animals’ living conditions makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like a philanthropist and erodes any trust the company hopes to build with its consumers or with PETA.
Once again, animal welfare has taken a backseat to corporate profit. Smithfield can rest assured that we’ll be at its annual meeting this August, making sure that pigs are heard.
Written by Karin Bennett