When it comes to convincing companies to phase out cruel sow gestation crates from their supply chains, this has been a good year. Fast food giants Wendy's and McDonald's both announced plans earlier this year to phase out the two by seven foot gestation crates pregnant pigs are kept in. Big food companies like Compass Group, which calls itself the world's largest food and support services, announced similar plans. Even Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer on the planet, announced in December its plans to phase out the crates. Don't expect a similar announcement from Domino's, the world's second-largest pizza chain with over 9,700 locations.
Domino's shareholders rejected a proposal last month, submitted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), to stop buying pork from suppliers who use sow gestation crates. Last year, a representative from HSUS asked the company, at the annual shareholder's meeting, to move away from suppliers that use gestation crates. Domino's just won't listen despite the industry move away from the crates, and the fact that they are outlawed in eight states and the EU.
"Domino’s allows its suppliers to confine pigs in crates so small they can’t even turn around for nearly their entire lives," said Kristie Middleton, food policy manager for the HSUS. "Consumers don’t support this animal abuse and it’s time Domino’s finally caught up with other restaurant companies by getting gestation crates out of its supply chain."
Clearly many consumers don't support the use of gestation crates, as a current Change.org petition indicates. The petition, which has received over 135,000 signatures, urges Domino's to "phase cruel gestation crates out of their supply chains." It asks why Domino's can't do what some of its fellow fast food giants have all done: "If all these huge companies can commit to getting rid of gestation crates, why is Domino's unwilling to listen to the rest of the industry and consumer demand?"
A few months ago I wrote about the industry move away from gestation crates, and noted that the crates are so small that the sows can't turn around while confined in them. They are moved to a different crate after giving birth, and post-birth are soon impregnated. Once pregnant again, they are moved back to the crates. Why would Domino's not want to move away from such a cruel practice in a time when people are much more compassionate about the treatment of animals?
I also noted in my previous article that the increased appetite for meat lead to the rise of factory farms, which is why practices such as the use of gestation crates exist. Americans ate only 168 pounds of meat a year in 1970, and in 2005, ate 185 pounds a year. As I stated then, and stand by now, until Americans commit to eating less meat, factory farming will be a reality. And companies will have to deal with the taint of factory farms.
Photo: Wikipedia user, SlimVirgin
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.