Hormel Foods had its annual shareholders' meeting on Tuesday this week, amongst the topics discussed was the use of sow gestation crates by the firm's facilities.
Also at the meeting was a representative of the Humane Society of the United States, who raised concerns regarding the company’s use of the sow gestation crates.
Hormel president and CEO Jeff Ettinger was asked when the firm will steer away from the use of the crates. According to Ettinger, the company has facilities in three states - Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming - he further stated that the use of the gestation crates will cease as of 2017. Arizona will be the first to have the crates phased out – by 2013. Whereas Wyoming and Colorado will stop making use of the crates by 2017.
Ettinger further added, “We’re comfortable with our position and having that consistent approach going forward.”
The sow crates have already been banned in seven US states.
Sow gestation crates
A gestation crate, also known as a sow stall, is a 7 ft by 2 ft metal enclosure used in intensive pig farming, in which a female breeding pig (sow) may be confined during pregnancy, and in effect for most of her adult life. Between 60 and 70 percent of sows are confined in crates during pregnancy in the United States, each pregnancy lasting four months, with an average of 2.5 litters every year. (Wikipedia)