Jack in the Box, Inc. has become the latest major food retailer to announce that it will eliminate controversial pig gestation crates from its pork supply chain. Much of the pork industry uses the tiny crates to virtually immobilize breeding pigs for nearly their entire lives.
The San Diego-based company operates and franchises more than 2,200 Jack in the Box locations and 576 Qdoba Mexican Grill locations.
“We have evaluated scientific literature…and have consulted with our suppliers and animal-welfare experts on this issue,” states Jack in the Box, Inc. in its recently-updated Animal Welfare Report. “In 2012, we informed our pork suppliers of our goal to source all pork from supply systems in which pregnant sows are cared for in a group housing environment instead of gestation stalls. We have begun discussing with our suppliers how they will complete such a transition by the end of 2022.”
The Humane Society of the United States supports Jack in the Box’s progress.
“Jack in the Box knows that pigs shouldn’t be in a box, unable to move for virtually their entire lives,” states Matthew Prescott, food policy director for The HSUS. “Americans simply don’t support this inhumane treatment of pigs, and Jack in the Box’s announcement is both better for animals and a good business move.”
Similar announcements made recently by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Oscar Mayer, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry, which has left most breeding pigs confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy. These cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and designed to prevent them from even turning around. The animals are subsequently transferred into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization. This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers, and more.
- Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban the gestation crate confinement of mother pigs.
- Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is clear on this issue: “Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life.” Grandin further states, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”
- Leading pork producers Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill, another major producer, is already 50 percent crate-free.
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