Pork Industry Responds To McDonalds' Announcement

Restaurant plans to transition away from farmers using conventional gestation crates.

Published on: Feb 13, 2012

On Monday McDonalds made the announcement that development of a plan was underway to switch their pork supply away from farmers using conventional gestation crates.

"McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future," said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president for supply chain management for McDonald’s North America. "There are alternatives we think are better for the welfare of sows."

The National Pork Board says that there are numerous ways to provide proper care for sows including gestation crates. That position is echoed by the American Veterinary Medicine Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every housing system whether it be gestation stalls, open pens, free access stalls or pastures. The Pork Board maintains that what matters most is the individual care given to each pig regardless of what system is being used.

Peer reviewed research has been conducted in the areas of animal care and food safety by the National Pork Board and they look forward to sharing the results of these studies with McDonalds as they develop the plan to implement the switch.

The National Pork Producers Council is offering assistance to McDonald’s as it assesses sow housing. NPPC believes the announcement reflects the best process for meeting evolving consumer demands – through the market, not through government mandates.

According to NPPC, farmers and animal care experts know that various types of housing systems can provide for the well-being of pigs. After an extensive review of scientific literature, the American Veterinary Medical Association determined that both individual sow housing and group housing can provide for the well-being of sows.

Pork industry customers have expressed a desire to see changes in how pigs are raised. Farmers are responding and modifying their practices accordingly. That process is effective, it is efficient, and doesn’t require an act of Congress. NPPC says producers will continue to meet the ever-changing needs of customers and provide consumers with safe, nutritious and affordable food produced responsibly.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Explain this to me: a sow gives birth out in a pasture. This sow is never brought in to the barn (just saying). She lays down where she wants. She is free to move wherever she wants to lay. If the baby pigs are in her way when she lays down they have the freedom to move out of her way. Now: the sow is put in a farrowing crate. She cannot turn around, she can barely move. If she lays down (if she can), there is no place for the babies to get out of the way. Is there?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am happy that "Al Stockton" will not be showing up in McDonald's. And I hope he goes bankrupt for his evil business. He doesn't even know the difference between farrowing and gestation crates. It's very easy to research that both have been cramped evil conditions for animals that are doomed to die for the human pigs that indulge their personal selfish greed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The use of farrowing crates, saves the lives of many little pigs. When I helped my Dad raise hogs, we used farrowing crates and turned the sows in and out, every morning and night. This kept the sows active and healthy. The thing to remember is that the heavier the sow, the less likely she will get up if she lays on a piglet. It is amazing to me, how people who have been raised in a sheltered life, where all the meat comes from a truck, can suddenly make rules on how I can raise my animals. We raised nearly 3000 hogs from farrow to finish. To make a profit you have to have healthy animals. MC Donald's has a right to make their business decisions, as I do. I like MC Donald's, but if they continue this policy, I will never again eat at their restaurants. Sincerely Al Stockton

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hurray for Mcd's. I was ready to become vegan. Farmers need to start thinking the way the customer thinks. I don't want to eat inhumanely raised and slaughtered meat, and I intend to decrease my eating of meat in any case. We don't need that kind of protein anyway, and it really is bad karma to keep on killing animals. We don't HAVE to have meat, it's not like we are cavemen where animals stand a fighting chance of surviving our primitive weapons. Thank goodness each generation is becoming more vegan than the last one. My dad grew up on a farm, and he had a pet pig that he had to take to be slaughtered when he was a teenager. He said that pig just laid his head on my dad's leg all the way to the butcher, he seemed to comprehend what was going to happen. Pigs are as intelligent and teachable as dogs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Since the McDonalds folks have buried the head in the sand and don't pay attention to science and reason, we meat eaters will just have to take our meat eating to their competitors. we won't be eating less meat, we will just eat the same amount but just some wher else. I guess McDonalds doesn't need our business.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How easy is it to sicken people? Chronic intractable disease in the US is Epidemic.Life span down - infant mortality rate up--> I blame all of you. Coldplay's haunting classic 'The Scientist' is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aMfSGt6rHos

  7. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if all the do-gooders have ever seen what happens when you put a new group of sows together in a pen. They establish a pecking order for several hours, and it is not very "humane." Usually at least one scratched up and starved for food by the group.

  8. Anonymous says:

    FYI...Dr. Cynthia Goody (McDonald’s Director of Nutrition) and Julia Braun (McDonald’s U.S. Nutrition and Labeling Manager) are members of the American Dietetic Association! The ADA is a 100% McDonald’s front group! Both players in this scene are bad.Thanks for the reminder not to eat inhumanely factory farmed pork or the end product at a fastfood/fastdeath McDonalds.

  9. Anonymous says:

    "The National Pork Producers Council is offering assistance to McDonald’s as it assesses sow housing. NPPC believes the announcement reflects the best process for meeting evolving consumer demands – through the market, not through government mandates." Oh, how generous of the NPPC! As if the whole idea of negotiating for better living conditions for farmed pigs was their idea. When the NPPC sits down and honestly acknowledges how cruel it is to keep living, breathing pregnant animals immobilized in crates their entire lives, and opts for something kinder, even if less profitable, that's the day I'll eat my vegan hat. In the meantime, I'll push for government protections for all farmed animals.

  10. Anonymous says:

    McDonalds apparently knows zilch about proper care of individual animals. I guess we producers should just put all in one big pen and let'um scrap over food and water. Sows don't scrap in individual stalls.

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