The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in the USA still considers gestation crates for sows to be appropriate and humane – despite Smithfield’s decision to ban them in ten years’ time.
In a statement, NPPC CEO Neil Dierks said that while his group “respects the right of all producers to make market decisions they believe are in their best interest,” the council considers gestation crates to be appropriate and humane.
“The American Veterinary Medical Association and other organisations recognise gestation stalls and group housing systems as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy,” he said.
“We support the right of all producers to choose housing that ensures the well-being of their animals and that is appropriate for their operations.”
Animal activist groups across the USA have been applauding for Smithfield’s decision. The Humane Society of the United States called the decision “perhaps the most monumental advance for animal welfare in the history of American agribusiness.”
Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president said, “This decision changes the dynamic of the industry. It’s going to be very hard for other companies to not follow Smithfield.”
The move comes just after animal-rights activists sued one of California’s largest pig farmers for using gestation crates. In the states of Arizona and Florida, gestation crates have already been banned.
Gestation crates have to be disappeared in the European Union by January 1st, 2013.