By John Michaelson, Prairie News Service
Walmart quickly is becoming the lone major corporation that still allows its pork suppliers to use gestation crates, according to an animal-advocacy group.
Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, says the video his group released last week shows the crates in use at a major supplier for Walmart.
“In the last few months, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Safeway (and) Costco have all started demanding that their pork suppliers phase out these inherently cruel gestation crates that don’t even allow these animals to turn around or exhibit natural behaviors.”
R unkle says if Walmart hears from enough consumers who are against the practice, it would be left with no choice but to phase out the use of gestational crates.
“The writing is certainly on the wall that this is a practice that is out of step with most Americans’ values, which say that animals should be treated humanely.”
S ome say moving away from long-used techniques to ones considered more humane would lead to a rise in the cost of food, but Runkle says that isn’t necessarily the case.
“Many studies suggest that it’s actually cheaper to raise pigs in ‘group housing’ systems, so this is really just a matter of the industry making a shift.”
Walmart says it already offers “crate-free” pork products in many U.S. stores and continues to work with suppliers to find ways to increase that number. The supplier in question, Minnesota-based Christensen Farms, says gestational stalls allow for the best individual care of sows and are within standard animal-welfare practices.