Sausage seller Bob Evans Farms, Inc., based in Columbus recently made an extensive statement regarding their role in sow housing and livestock care.
"Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is committed to the responsible care of animals that are raised to provide food products for our customers. We have an obligation to meet the expectations of our consumers on food quality, food safety and the well-being of animals. We also recognize that many challenges exist with respect to sow housing, and that some current systems may not provide ample space for gestating sows.
"To meet those responsibilities, decisions made by our company must be ethically grounded, scientifically verified, sustainable and economically viable. As part of that decision-making process, Bob Evans Farms recently held extensive discussions with a wide range of stakeholders – including farmers, customers, industry trade groups and animal rights advocates – to discuss housing systems for gestating sows.
"Bob Evans Farms' internal experts consulted regularly on sow housing with members of our Animal Well-Being Committee, which includes three independent outside experts in animal behavior and well-being. We also considered academic research and scientific literature that examined the advantages and disadvantages of individual and group housing environments for gestating sows.
"Our key learning is this – the single-most critical factor in ensuring animal well-being is not the housing system itself, but rather the animal husbandry practiced by those who care for the sows. Although there is no perfect housing system available, we will remain focused on quality animal care from trained, qualified caretakers and a safe on-farm working environment.