McDonald’s Insists On Better Treatment Of Pigs

McDonald’s Insists On Better Treatment Of Pigs

Feb 13


By Wayne Pacelle
The Humane Society of the United States
February 13, 2012

Original Link

It’s the biggest and perhaps best-known restaurant chain in the world. And today, in a joint statement with The HSUS, it announced its intention to get out of the business of gestation crates for breeding sows in the United States. McDonald’s declared that it “wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our U.S. supply chain” and further notes that “there are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows.”

This is a bit of an earthquake in the world of pork industry, with aftershocks that will be felt throughout the entire food retail sector. McDonald’s movement away from gestation crates is the latest acknowledgement from food sellers that extreme confinement practices have to go.

It all started nearly a decade ago in Florida, when voters made their state the first in the nation to ban gestation crates for breeding pigs. Since then, seven more states — two by initiative and several via negotiated agreement between The HSUS and agriculture groups — have enacted laws to phase out the use of small metal cages that don’t allow the sows room even to turn around.

Today’s announcement came after years of dialogue between The HSUS and McDonald’s. And it comes just two months after Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, recommitted to its pledge that it would phase out crates in its company-owned operations by 2017, and just a week after Hormel announced it would do the same, too.

From the early days of the Florida campaign to this latest announcement from McDonald’s, countless animal advocates have toiled to shine a bright light on the routine abuse that crated pigs are forced to endure. That struggle has yielded significant results for animals and made today’s progress possible. Everyone who has worked to give a voice to breeding pigs should take pride in this advancement.

We at The HSUS look forward to continuing our dialogue with McDonald’s, and to reporting more about the company’s progress in the months to come.



Humane Society / McDonald’s Corporation
February 13, 2012

Original Link

McDonald’s Corporation today announced that it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to outline their plans to phase out the use of sow gestation stalls, a move supported by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future. There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,”said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management. “McDonald’s wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our supply chain. We are beginning an assessment with our U.S. suppliers to determine how to build on the work already underway to reach that goal. In May, after receiving our suppliers’ plans, we’ll share results from the assessment and our next steps.”

“The HSUS has been a long-time advocate for ending the use of gestation crates, and McDonald’s announcement is important and promising,” said Wayne Pacelle, The HSUS’ president and CEO. “All animals deserve humane treatment, including farm animals, and it’s just wrong to immobilize animals for their whole lives in crates barely larger than their bodies.”

McDonald’s actions are backed by leading independent animal welfare experts, including renowned scientist Dr. Temple Grandin. “Moving from gestation stalls to better alternatives will improve the welfare of sows and I’m pleased to see McDonald’s working with its suppliers toward that end. It takes a thorough plan to address the training of animal handlers, proper feeding systems, and the significant financial investment and logistics involved with such a big change. I’m optimistic about this announcement,” said Dr. Grandin.

Gorsky added, “We are pleased to see a number of our U.S. suppliers adopting commercially-viable alternatives. For example, Smithfield Foods and Cargill have made significant progress in this area. We applaud these, and future, efforts.”

Media Contacts:

Lisa McComb, McDonald’s

Anna West, HSUS



Pulse on Factory Farming



  1. I work at the HSUS, and just wanted to say thanks for posting this! This is a promising and welcome advancement in the effort to help improve the treatment of farm animals, and it sends a very strong signal to the pork industry that gestation crates have no future.

  2. Linda Pettit

    Wow! It’s powerful to witness the ongoing evolution of compassionate awareness in our culture…More,more!

  3. Sarah, three cheers for the work you and your HSUS co-workers are doing! Finally, it seems, the tide is beginning to turn for animals being brutalized by factory farming. I look forward to the day when human beings begin treating animals, and the creatures that we share this world with, as if we are all connected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.