Domino’s Pizza shareholders last Wednesday rejected – by a majority vote of 80 percent – a resolution from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) requiring its pork suppliers to stop the use of gestation stalls. The National Pork Producers Council hailed the move as a vote for common sense.
Animal activist groups recently have influenced several prominent foodservice companies, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, to make poorly informed decisions on sow housing.
“The vote to reject the HSUS resolution was a vote for common sense,” said NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “We appreciate Domino’s belief that America’s farmers, veterinarians and other animal agriculture experts are better suited than activist groups to determine what the best animal care practices are.”
US pork producers care about their animals and rely on the experience and knowledge of animal care experts, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, when designing housing and handling their animals. These associations recognize both gestation stalls and group housing systems as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy.
“Removing sow stalls has no demonstrable health or welfare benefits to animals,” said Dr. Liz Wagstrom, NPPC chief veterinarian. “In fact, the key factor that most affects animal well-being is husbandry skills – that is, the care given to each animal. There is no scientific consensus on the best way to house gestating sows because each type of housing system has inherent advantages and disadvantages.”