Pigs gather to be fed on a farm northeast of Collins, Iowa. Photographer: Gary Fandel/Bloomberg
McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s largest restaurant chain, said it will require its pork suppliers to get rid of gestation pens that animal-rights groups have long deemed cruel to pigs.
“There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,” Dan Gorsky, McDonald’s senior vice president of North America supply chain management, said in a statement today, released with the Humane Society of the United States.
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company, which uses pork in sausage McMuffins, breakfast platters and McRib sandwiches, will require its suppliers to submit plans by May to phase out the metal cages.
The move comes 11 years after Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) began requiring its pork suppliers to raise pigs outside or in large cages and use antibiotic-free and vegetarian food.
Gestation cages are typically about 2 feet by 7 feet, too small for a full-sized sow to turn around.
Pigs kept in these pens are more susceptible to disease and illnesses such as urinary tract infections, said Paul Shapiro, a spokesman for the Washington-based Humane Society. They also suffer psychologically because pigs are “very social, intelligent animals,” he said.
Cargill Inc., the commodity trader that’s the largest closely held U.S. company, and Smithfield, Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) are leading the way in getting rid of the animal enclosures, McDonald’s said in the statement. Cargill is based in Minneapolis. the entire article at source