Golden Valley-based General Mills recently received praise from The Humane Society of the United States for its position on using pork suppliers that do not use gestation crates.
Gestation crates are a form of sow housing commonly used throughout the nation. The National Pork Producers Council says that farmers shouldn't have limited production methods. According to their website, "scientific research has shown that there is no one, single best way to house a pregnant sow."
In a statement on the General Mills website about how animals are raised and treated in pork production, the company wrote:
General Mills supports the development of pregnant sow housing alternatives. Though we recognize that the development and implementation of alternative systems may be a long-term process that could take up to 10 years, we will favor pork suppliers that provide actionable plans by 2017 to create traceability and end their use of gestation crates within the U.S. pork supply chain.
“Consumers are deeply concerned about inhumane treatment of animals, and General Mills is responding,” said Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for The HSUS in a press release. “We welcome General Mills’ important animal welfare progress and hope the pork industry can read the writing on the wall: gestation crates don’t have a future in the pork industry.”
Other food companies, such as Oscar Mayer and McDonald’s, have made similar decisions recently regarding gestation crates, according to HSUS, which said other pork producers such as Hormel “have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017.”