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News 544 views last update:Feb 13, 2008

US: Safeway promotes welfare for pigs

North America's third largest grocery retailer, Safeway, has taken a series of major steps to improve animal welfare in its food purchasing decisions of pork and poultry.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) applauded Safeway's announcement. It has been in dialogue with the retailer since last November about improving its farm animal welfare standards.

The following new policies are to be introduced:

Pork

  • It will purchase pork preferably from producers that do not confine breeding sows in gestation crates, as the cages are so small that the animals have difficulty turning around.
  • It will increase the proportion of gestation crate-free pork it offers by 5% over each of the next three years, to a total of 15% in 2010.

Eggs

  • It will purchase preferably cage-free eggs, which is "intended to favour producers who are converting away from battery-cage confinement systems." Safeway further adds, "We hope this new policy will encourage the egg industry to move away from confining laying hens in battery cages."
  • It will more than double the percentage of cage-free eggs it offers to over 6% of its total egg sales within two years.
  • It will also purchase from poultry slaughterers that use Controlled Atmosphere Stunning, which causes significantly less suffering than the conventional poultry slaughter method.

Paul Shapiro, senior director of the HSUS' factory farming campaign, commented that "Safeway's new policies represent important progress on basic animal welfare issues and will positively affect many thousands of animals."

Related websites:

• Safeway

• The Humane Society of the United States

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