The Humane Society of the United States applauds Miami-based Carnival Corporation – the world’s largest cruise company – for improving farm animal welfare by working to eliminate controversial pig gestation crates from its pork supply chain. The tiny cages are used to virtually immobilize breeding pigs.
“Carnival Corporation & plc supports the pork industry’s movement away from gestation crates and will work to ensure that our own pork supply is free of these cages by 2022,” stated James Van Langen, vice president of management systems for Carnival Corporation & plc.
The Humane Society of the United States supports Carnival’s progress.
“Carnival knows that one thing people don’t leave at home when they go on vacation is their concern for animals,” stated Matthew Prescott, food policy director for The HSUS. “People simply don’t support the lifelong confinement of animals in cages so small they can’t even turn around, and it’s both an ethical decision and good business move for Carnival to recognize that.”
The similar announcements made recently by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Oscar Mayer, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and more than 30 other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that leaves 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 is already 50 percent crate-free.
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