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Pork Producer Says It Plans to Give Pigs More Room January 26, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Food, News.
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Pork Producer Says It Plans to Give Pigs More Room – New York Times
The processor, Smithfield Foods, which raises sows at 187 farms in eight states, said it would replace individual metal cages with pens where the sows would be housed in groups, allowing more mobility. Smithfield, which had revenue of $11.4 billion in 2006, raises 14 million hogs in the United States each year and processes 27 million hogs into pork products, for a 26 percent share of the market.

Animal welfare activists praised the move. “This is perhaps the most important moment in animal welfare in the agribusiness sector in 50 years,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society and others have long criticized the use of gestation crates. The sows spend up to three years continuously reproducing — much of the time confined in stalls where they cannot turn around — before being slaughtered. Veal cows are confined to two-foot-wide crates for four months and then slaughtered. Hens spend about a year laying eggs in “battery cages” — where they do not have room to flap their wings — before they are slaughtered.

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