Yesterday's announcement from Smithfield Foods that the company will be moving its gestation-sow housing from crates to an "open-housing" system will continue to generate reactions, comments and analysis. Here's a look as some that have surfaced:

  • Neil Dierks, chief executive officer, National Pork Producers Council: “Smithfield Foods has made a market-based decision to eliminate gestation stalls from its production system over the next 10 years. NPPC respects the right of all producers to make market decisions they believe are in their best interests. This does not change the association’s policy on gestation stalls.
  • “The American Veterinary Medical Association and other organizations recognize gestation stalls and group-housing systems as appropriate to provide for the well-being of sows during pregnancy. We support the right of all producers to choose housing that ensures the well-being of their animals and that's appropriate for their operations.”
  • Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States: "This is an earthquake in the pig industry....this decision is a signal by an industry leader that these crates have no place in the future of American agriculture....With the tidal wave of corporate and public opinion building against gestation crates, it's time for the pork industry to end the use of these cruel confinement devices."