Wendy’s commits to gestation-stall-free pork

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The Wendy’s hamburger chain has joined the ranks of foodservice providers that will require its U.S. and Canadian pork suppliers to make plans to phase out the use of gestation-sow stalls. McDonalds was the most significant company to step forward last month, giving its suppliers until May to develop and deliver their plans.

“Wendy’s is working with its U.S. and Canadian pork suppliers to eliminate the use of sow-gestation stalls over time,” says Dennis Hecker, head of Wendy's animal welfare committee and senior vice president of quality assurance. “[Wendy’s] believes that confining sows in gestation stalls is not sustainable over the long term, and moving away from this practice is the right thing to do.” 

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been talking with Wendy’s regarding the use of gestation-sow stalls.  

“Confining pigs in gestation crates is cruel, and more and more consumers want nothing to do with this kind of animal mistreatment,” says Wayne Pacelle, HSUS’ president and chief executive officer. “Wendy’s commitment to eliminate gestation crates provides further evidence that we are on the pathway toward ending this inhumane practice once and for all.”

The Wendy’s announcement follows a wave of similar activities that began on Jan. 31, with an HSUS undercover video taken at Seaboard Foods and Prestage Farms breeding herd facilities in Oklahoma, which focused on gestation-sow stalls. HSUS’ concerted effort moved into February with shardholder actions involving Hormel, Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods.

Recent activities on the foodservice side has included the Compass Group, which operates 10,000 dining facilities at schools, hospitals, corporate offices and other venues in the United States, and considered to be the largest foodservice company in the world, recently announced it also will eliminate gestation stalls. Bon Appétit Management Company, associated with the Compass Group, which operates more than 400 cafés for corporations, universities and other venues, made that same commitment in February. 

Smithfield and Hormel officials have recommitted to stop using gestation-sow stalls at their company-owned facilities by 2017. Cargill has eliminated gestation stalls in about 50 percent of its production. HSUS points out that eight U.S. states have laws designed to end practice, and Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, have bills pending that would outlaw gestation stalls.


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NW Indiana  |  March, 26, 2012 at 09:33 AM

Smart alec editorials in Russian newspapers state; "you Americans are more communist than we ever were." That could be funny if it weren't true.

Winnipeg  |  March, 27, 2012 at 07:37 AM

Good for Wendy's to commit to the switch from an extremely cruel method of housing an animal. I look forward to the day gestation stalls will be known widely for what they are: barbaric animal cruelty.

kansas  |  March, 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM

CKing - I look forward to the day when radical animal rightists will be viewed as the emotionally over-wrought, mentally challenged group of reality-deniers and cultists they are. Like the Luddites and Eliminationists and Eugenicists; your kind will of course linger about on the fringes with other defeated ideologues, trying to make a come-back by screeching at the weak-minded and easily misled; but you'll be finished. Yeah, that's the day I'm looking forward to.

Pork Cost    
Illinois  |  March, 27, 2012 at 10:38 AM

So what I don't think Wendy's or McDonald's understands is the cost. Are they willing to pay for the speciality meat. Free range/ all natural/ organic/ cage free pork. All of this costs almost double. I can't say I am completely okay with gestation stalls, but who is going to pay for the conversion of these barns. they can complain all they want about what they want, but shouldn't they be out there supporting the pork producer with Dollars to help them convert. It might make it easier for these producers to convert with such a tight margin of profit, it isn't just like a light switch for these producers to switch there facilities over. In the long run, who is going to pay!??? The consumer and the producer. Why does the middle man seem to win when all they do is complain but aren't a part of the solution!!

SD  |  March, 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Such a 'stampede' by restaurants to comply with HSUS demands is troubling. Food animal producers have moved from 'the good old days and ways' to modern production methods such as gestation stalls in order to provide animals with the best and safest living conditions. It is sad and disgusting that many good people have been fooled into believing the worst lies about animal care being promoted by animal RIGHTS activists. They are NOT animal WELFARE promoters. That definition better fits the animal scientists who were and are dedicated to finding, through research, the best conditions FOR THE ANIMALS. Producers adopted those methods at no small cost to themselves in order to raise healthier animals, NOT cheaper ones. Why is that so difficult to figure out? Profit should not be an epithet! Profit in agriculture is far less than in most other businesses. People remain farmers and ranchers because we love taking care of the land and the animals. Don't forget, more than 98% of farms in the USA are FAMILY owned and staffed. More than 85% of the budget of the USDA is spent NOT on farm subsidies, but on FOOD SUBSIDIES to people mostly NOT living on farms, excepting those whose incomes are below the poverty levels, and there are some farm owners in that category! Certainly, the restaurants demanding the changes in methods of raising animals will do the right thing and cover the costs of those farmers, won't they? Obviously, if their customers demand it, they must be willing to pay the necessarily higher costs of the food they buy, aren't they???

Cal Tininenko    
Grand Forks, ND  |  March, 30, 2012 at 09:45 AM

HSUS and the urbanite idiots know NOTHING about animal husbandry. Back in the "good ole days" of free-ranging sows the piglet mortality rate frequently ran from 10 – 20% due to the sows laying on, trampling and crushing the piglets. However, when it comes to human behavior and the killing of millions of unborn children through abortions where is HSUS in denouncing and vilifying this barbaric behavior? Why aren't they frothing at the mouth? It's amazing how selective they are in their condemnation...

kansas  |  March, 30, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Another one bites the dust! Blackmailing Big Corporations with threats of protests, boycotts and lawsuits seems to be working well for the Vegans, Animals are People Too, and other Anti-Agriculture advocates. When will we wake up and adopt the successful tactics of our enemies? Or are we too proud, principled and stupid to catch on before we're wiped-out?


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