McDonald’s announced today that they’ll be partnering with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to require all of their pork suppliers to phase out gestation pens in their facilities. Gestation pens are small crates used to house pregnant sows that are barely larger than the animals’ bodies, and they were recently the subject of a sting operation by the HSUS that uncovered the horrors of pork farming. Though the hamburger giant still has other stains on its image that aren’t likely to go away anytime soon — as seen in the film Super Size Me and the recent news about their pink slime beef — we will take any step in the right direction as a positive sign.
“McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future. There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,” said Dan Gorsky in a statement, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management. “McDonald’s wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our supply chain. We are beginning an assessment with our U.S. suppliers to determine how to build on the work already underway to reach that goal.” The company, which uses pork in their sausage McMuffins and a few other products, didn’t set a timeline for their humane decision but stated that once their suppliers provide them with plans for the phasing out of gestation pens, they’ll compile a report and release the plans to the public.
Officials at McDonald’s added that two of their suppliers, Smithfield Foods and Cargill, have already started to phase out these horrible contraptions and we’re sure this announcement will have a huge impact on the rest of the industry. When such a large supplier of pork says they won’t work with people who use gestation pens, chances are the entire industry will at least attempt to comply in order to gain some business with them. Though there is a laundry list of other issues with this less than healthy food supplier that we’d like to bring up, we’ll let them figure out this gestation pen thing first.
Lead image by Dave_MCMT on Flickr
Second image by avlxyz on Flickr
Third image by anemoneprojectors on Flickr