In mid-April confusing reports and interpretations lead some to believe that Cargill Meat Solutions was falling in line with Smithfield Foods in phasing out its gestation stalls and moving sows into groups. The Associated Press ran the story, the Humane Society of the United States took credit for the apparent move.

However, a spokesman for Cargill, based in Wichita, Kan., said the AP story and HSUS' perception were both inaccurate.

It started with a letter exchange from HSUS, which called on Cargill to follow Smithfield and plan to eliminate gestation-sow crates. Cargill responded by illustrating that the company has been transitioning to "group-sow housing" during the past four years and has already converted more than half of its production farms.

Cargill emphasizes that the company is not "phasing them (gestation crates) out," that the article was HSUS' interpretation of the company's letter -- or rather a misinterpretation of the company's overall production system.

In the end, this is an illustration of the pressures that will continue to surface on the gestation-sow housing issue. HSUS will continue to apply pressure on large pork production systems, intending it to trickle out to others within the industry. HSUS will take all the "credit" and pull in the media on a regular basis.

Of key interest is how companies, producers and the industry handle their responses to HSUS and the media on this issue. It will ultimately set the tone of who's implementing ideas, and directing the production system.