On a recent trip to Michigan for a nephew’s wedding, my daughter and son-in-law shared a private joke as they smiled at one another. When I asked what was going on, they said, “We just went by a Bob Evans restaurant.” Then they looked at me and added, “Whenever you see a Bob Evans, you want to eat there.”
Of course, they were exaggerating and I disagreed vehemently, but secretly, there was a little truth. I like the casual family atmosphere, the reasonable prices and the “home-cooked” food. Plus, I remember the many times Bob Evans personally bought the grand champion barrow at a number of Midwest state fairs.
Now, I have another reason to like Bob Evans Farms, Inc. Yesterday, a press release from the company stated, “Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is committed to the responsible care of animals that are raised to provide food products for our customers.”
It went on to talk about the expectations of consumers on food quality, food safety and the well-being of animals and the recognition that challenges exist with respect to sow housing.
Most importantly, it states, “To meet those responsibilities, decisions made by our company must be ethically grounded, scientifically verified, sustainable and economically viable. As part of that decision-making process, Bob Evans Farms recently held extensive discussions with a wide range of stakeholders – including farmers, customers, industry trade groups and animal rights advocates – to discuss housing systems for gestating sows.”
What?! Make a decision based on scientific verification? What a novel idea!
“Bob Evans Farms’ internal experts consulted regularly on sow housing with members of our Animal Well-Being Committee, which includes three independent outside experts in animal behavior and well-being. We also considered academic research and scientific literature that examined the advantages and disadvantages of individual and group housing environments for gestating sows,” says the release.
Not only does Bob Evans Farms, Inc. want scientific verification – it is also using academic research and scientific research to help it reach a reasonable decision based on facts, not rhetoric.
Finally, the kicker: “Our key learning is this – the single-most critical factor in ensuring animal well-being is not the housing system itself, but rather the animal husbandry practiced by those who care for the sows. Although there is no perfect housing system available, we will remain focused on quality animal care from trained, qualified caretakers and a safe on-farm working environment.”
View All Blogs »