Canadian Supermarkets Ban Pig Gestation Cages

by | Apr 30, 2013

Walmart Canada, Costco Canada, Metro, Loblaw, Safeway Canada, Federated Co-operatives, Sobeys and Co-op Atlantic — all eight of Canada’s largest supermarket chains — have pledged to eliminate the use of pork housed in gestation crates from their supply chains in the next nine years.

The agreement, which is supported by the Humane Society International/Canada and The Humane Society of the United States, comes at a time when Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council is reviewing and revising its codes of practice and is considering a nationwide phase-out of gestation crates.

Gestation crates measure about 2 feet by 7 feet and are used to tightly confine breeding pigs — to the point where they cannot turn around — for most of their lives. Pigs are transferred to another cage to give birth, re-impregnated and put back into a gestation crate.

Numerous other food and beverage companies as well as restaurant chains in Canada and the US have made similar sustainable supply chain announcements over the past year.

Canada’s largest fast food chain Tim Hortons announced this month it would eliminate gestation crates in its pork supply chain by 2022. The fast food chain said it would work with governmental and industry entities to end the use of gestation crates across Canada.

Bob Evans, a restaurant chain with more than 700 locations and a food product manufacturer, Applebee’s, IHOP, Marriot International, General Mills, Au Bon Pain and Williams Sausage Co., all made announcements this year to eliminate gestation crates in their supply chains.

ConAgra Foods, producer of such products as Slim Jim beef jerky and Hebrew National hot dogs, announced last year that by 2017 it expects all of its suppliers to produce action plans aimed at eliminating gestation crates for sows. Dunkin Donuts made the same commitment. However, the company did not provide a date when they plan to achieve this.

Last February, McDonalds announced it was demanding all of its US pork suppliers supply it with plans to phase out the use of sow gestation stalls by May 2012.

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