HSUS and SumOfUs join to take on Tyson and gestation stalls

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On Wednesday, the consumer advocacy organization SumOfUs joined forces with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to pressure Tyson Foods to eliminate the use of gestation-sow stalls from its pork supply chain.

The two groups report that an online petition initiated by SumOfUs directed a quarter million people to send a message to Tyson, the world’s second-largest meat processor and major pork supplier, that it needed to create plans to eliminate gestation stalls.

HSUS is a stockholder in Tyson Foods and attempted to pass a resolution regarding gestation stalls at the company’s annual meeting in February, but the measure failed. 

HSUS and SumOfUs point to recent announcements by such food companies as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kroger, Safeway, Oscar Mayer and Kraft, that have made plans to have their pork suppliers stop using gestation-sow stalls. While the timelines vary, 2017 and 2022 are the most common deadlines cited.

More direct competitors of Tyson-- Smithfield Foods, Hormel and Maple Leaf Foods officials-- have said their company-owned operations will stop using gestation stalls by 2017. Minnetonka, Minn.,-based Cargill is estimated to have 50 percent of its sow operations out of gestation stalls.

In its announcement on Wednesday, HSUS again highlighted video released in May that one of its undercover activists shot at Wyoming Premium Farms sow site in Wheatland, Wyo., which HSUS says “supplied animals to Tyson Foods.” While cull sows from the farm had been sold to a nearby Heinold buying station, which is a subsidiary of Tyson, the company clarified the reality.  “Let’s also make it clear that Tyson does not own, operate or have any contractual relationship with the Wyoming farm, which is primarily involved in providing feeder pigs to other companies not affiliated with Tyson Foods,” a Tyson statement outlined.

In an effort to keep pressure on Tyson, HSUS also in May filed a legal complaint with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) asserting that Tyson Foods made “deceptive public statements related to animal well-being.” HSUS pointed to the WPF video, and the industry’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, which HSUS says has no “mandated or enforceable animal welfare standards to conform to, making meaningful audits under the program impossible.”

“People oppose the abuse of animals raised for food, and gestation crates have come to epitomize that cruelty,” said Kaytee Riek, campaign manager at SumOfUs. “The demise of gestation crates has become inevitable, and Tyson should stop lagging behind its competitors and start thinking outside the crate.” 

“Tyson stands to lose both significant business as well as consumer trust if it doesn’t join its competitors and develop plans for a gestation crate-free future,” said Paul Shapiro, HSUS vice president of farm animal protection.


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kansas  |  July, 19, 2012 at 09:00 AM

"People" Kaytee? Or is it just Your People, i.e., those uninformed suckers your organization's fact-free demonization progrom's propaganda has deceived? "Crates have come to epitomize that cruelty,", based on animal rights extremists' mischaracterizations and the abuse of typical consumers complete ignorance of what livestock production actually does and is. HSUS, SumOfUS and their ilk are dedicated to spending the 10s of millions of dollars in donations they deceptively solicit to destroying modern agriculture - by Any Means. Lying, lawfare and character assasination seem to be working well for them right now.

Iowa  |  July, 19, 2012 at 09:51 AM

I would rather Have my sows in stalls ,no daily bullying less injurys to me or my sows.We can feeding and care to meet each animals needs.

Laurella Desborough    
Florida  |  July, 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

It is an outrage that the HSUS and their followers are trying to tell farmers and cattlemen how to manage their livestock. When HSUS has NO animal management expertise and NO knowledge about the realities of hogs, poultry and cattle, it is beyond belief that any person who can think at all would listen to their lies and try to force changes in animal husbandry practices. It is time the public became aware that the HSUS and the animal rights followers are trying to ELIMINATE animal agriculture! I am fed up with this small group of cult followers trying to change our society!

SD  |  July, 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Yes, HSUS and their partners in crime (remember the fire set at that CA ranch only months ago!!!) are determined to end all animal uses and interaction (pets) by humans. However, we also need to remember that they profit personally via salaries, pensions, 'consultation fees' and more from the successful fundraising campaigns based on making the easily duped folks believe that they are helping animals with their donated $$$$$. The latter is the thing that drives the leaders of those organizations, far above any altruism for "helpless animals"! We need to alert the public to the fact that some of these groups kill animals rather than care for them when costs get too high. Yet they have the gall to claim farmers are greedy because we need to make a profit of go out of business! Oh, wait, putting us out of business IS one of their goals.

IL.  |  July, 19, 2012 at 04:30 PM

We will never go back to pen gestation, Done it for 30 years. Better animal health with gestation crates. Don't care if they make it a law to band gestation crates. When born alive numbers are greater, Sows breed are better, cull & death loss is less. That science that works.

robert stwalley    
waterloo IA  |  July, 20, 2012 at 03:07 PM

Does the HSUS think that the farmers sit around trying to think of ways to make a pigs life awful and painful, these crates save pigs lifes, If these socalled consumers want pork without crates they can raise their own, i am going to pay for my pork rasied the way the farmer needs to raise them. This needs to stop, every one needs to wake up here, i am unemployeed since the "pink slime scare", do not sit there and say "it wont happen, they cannot do anything"!!! look at beef prices in the last year, if we dont do something to stop the stupidity we are going to get our food priced right out of our own hands; And, sadly, its not for the aminals its to break down the belief and faith in the americian farm and to shore up someones twisted political angle to a communist america. IT HAS GOT TO STOP

Terry Ward    
Pa  |  July, 21, 2012 at 08:10 AM

Anybody noticed that no one is paying any attention to you?

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