MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Humane Society of the United States is welcoming a statement from Hormel Foods Corp. that its company-owned farms are phasing out the use of small metal crates for confining pregnant hogs by the end of 2017.

The HSUS says gestation crates severely restrict the animals’ movements. Six weeks ago, the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods Inc., said it would stop using them by 2017.

Matthew Dominguez with the society’s farm animal protection campaign says the first word his group got of Hormel’s change was at the company’s shareholders meeting in Austin, Minn., Tuesday night when he posed the question to CEO Jeffrey Ettinger.

Hormel did not immediately respond to questions about when it made the policy change. Its company-owned farms are in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. Anne Hogan says:

    Thank you for sharing this story – all of us at the HSUS are pleased with Hormel’s decision and we hope to see more of their competitors following suit.

  2. Ellen says:

    I bet HSUS is pleased! The rest of us won’t be happy with higher
    prices for pork! The whole reason behind farrowing crates is to
    PREVENT the sow from laying on her piglets and crushing them.
    This was an everyday issue with us hog farmers until the advent
    of the farrowing crates. So now HSUS will be responsible for
    the deaths of thousands of innocent little piglets! Will that make
    them happy as well? MURDERERS!

  3. W E says:

    that is the stupidist comment ever made! You are off lady!

  4. Bill S says:

    Way to go HSUS.
    Ellen, I don’t think you even realize you’re spewing ag industry propaganda.
    Studies in Sweden and Switzerland showed there is no difference between pig mortality rates after banning farrowing crates. It’s true that piglets can get crushed in pens, but it’s balanced by a higher rate of mortality in farrowing crates because MORE piglets are born dead or savaged by the sow. (wiki)
    I will not feed any factory farmed food to my family, or even my pets – the health risks are too great.

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