After a Decade of Promises, Has the Food Industry Made Progress on Gestation Crates?

Hundreds of food retailers and giant pork producer Smithfield have pledged to eliminate gestation crates for pregnant sows, but confinement is still the norm.


In early January 2018, Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, announced that it had achieved its “animal care” goal to provide group housing for pregnant sows on all of its U.S.-based farms. Over the course of 10 years, and with a $360 million investment, the company claimed to have transitioned its operations away from individual stalls, known as gestation crates.

Since the 1970s, gestation crates have been standard housing in most hog-breeding facilities nationwide. For the nearly four-month duration of her pregnancy, each sow lives, eats, and sleeps in a roughly two-and-half-by-seven-foot stall that does not allow her to walk, turn around, or socialize. After giving birth and living in a slightly larger farrowing crate for a month, she is impregnated again and returned to the stall. The cycle is repeated for three to four years until her production drops off, and she is slaughtered for breakfast sausage.

“These animals are raised like they’re parked cars, side by side, cage next to cage in a giant warehouse,” said Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “If this practice was done to dogs or cats, it would be illegal. But it became standard in the pork industry.”

Over the past decade, this restricted form of sow housing has become one of the primary targets of public pressure, activist exposés, and state legislation aimed at ending extreme confinement for farm animals. And food companies up and down the supply chain have come under fire, and bowed to consumer demand for more humane treatment of farm animals—at least on the surface.

Between 2012 and 2015, more than 200 food companies—including meat producers like Cargill and Hormel, food service providers like Aramark and Bon Appétit Management Co., restaurant chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, and retailers like Kroger, Safeway, and Costco—all pledged to do away with gestation-crate pork. And while most of these companies expect to hit the target by 2022, it’s unclear whether the food industry as a whole will make good on its promises.

Gestation crates remain the standard on over three-fourths of U.S. hog farms today, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). And 98 percent of producers use gestation stalls at least some of the time, such as immediately after artificial insemination.

As the first major company to commit to phasing out gestation crates in 2007, Smithfield’s recent announcement sounded like a watershed moment for the pork industry. “Smithfield represents 25 percent of the sows in the U.S.,” Balk said. “They have taken positive steps, I would say—they are now using group housing for sows where they are able to live in large pens.”

“[But] it’s not old MacDonald’s farm,” he continued. That is, the animals are still confined indoors and spend their lives on concrete floors.

The existence of these crates also poses larger questions about whether it’s possible to keep sows in confinement and keep them healthy. Many pork producers contend that gestation crates allow them to readily monitor each animal’s health and feed. But with the advent of monitoring systems, such as electronic sow feeding (ESF), the main concern is aggression. Especially when pregnant, sows that are not dominant can become severely injured because of the strict social hierarchy among hogs in group situations.

“Farmers are using gestation stalls because, after years and years, they have found they work best for insuring health of sow and health of piglet,” said NPPC’s Dave Warner.

There is also a strong sentiment within the industry that animal husbandry practices should not be dictated to a country of independent pork producers. “We don’t advocate one system over another,” Warner said. “We also believe that any particular system that’s working for the health of sows shouldn’t be eliminated just because some group thinks that it should.”

While research shows advantages and disadvantages to both gestation stalls and group housing systems, many animal welfare advocates see the small confines as inhumane and believe that issues like aggression can be overcome with thoughtful animal management. They applaud the steps producers and retailers are taking to cut down on the crating practice.

But the question for those interested in animal welfare is whether company commitments make any real difference at all.

Public Pressure to Ban Confinement

Over the last 10 years or so, immense public pressure has mounted to abolish farm animal confinement.

Walmart’s own research found that 77 percent of its loyal shoppers said that they would have greater trust in a retailer that abided by humane animal welfare practices. And since 2002, voters in 11 states have expressed their beliefs in ballot measures that ban one or more forms of animal confinement, including hen battery cages, veal crate stalls, and sow gestation crates.

Massachusetts voters took the referendum even further in 2016 when they banned all housing systems that do not allow animals to turn around, lay down, stand up, and move freely. Even more significantly, the legislation, slated to go into effect in 2022, outlaws the sale in Massachusetts of any animal products raised in extreme confinement conditions from any other state. HSUS, which helped to pass Proposition 2 in 2008 in California, is currently campaigning in California for a similar initiative to appear on the November 2018 ballot.

However, the public’s general rejection of animal confinement has not yet made inroads in the major pork-producing regions of the country. The 11 states that ban some form of confinement, including Florida, Arizona, Maine, and Oregon, represent just 7 percent of the 200 million hogs and pigs sold each year, according to 2012 Census of Agriculture data. And the nation’s top three states in pork production and sales—Iowa, North Carolina, and Michigan—do not currently have referendums or ballot initiatives banning the practice. If a recent Iowa law that supports producers using tight confinement of egg-laying hens is any indication, major agricultural interests in these states are likely to resist significant changes.

Food Industry Promises and Hit-or-Miss Transparency

The retail food industry has responded to consumer concerns by making its own promises, starting with McDonald’s in 2012. “McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future,” said Dan Gorskey, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management in a statement at the time. “There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows.”

The fast food leader’s pledge kicked off a wave of similar commitments but few companies have submitted progress reports on their efforts. Panera Bread recently shared its animal welfare report, stating, “100 percent of bacon, breakfast sausage, and ham served on sandwiches and salad was raised without antibiotics and was gestation-crate free.” But the salami in its Italian sandwich brought the company’s total pork supply down to 90 percent.

The global food-service giant Aramark has reported 30 percent progress on its declaration to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain by 2022. In 2017, Kathy Cacciola, Aramark’s senior director of environmental sustainability, confirmed to Civil Eats that the company is on track with suppliers to meet its goal.

Because most companies self-report this kind of progress, however, transparency is an ongoing challenge. Take the case of battery cages for egg-laying hens. After legislative actions combined with consumer pressures motivated hundreds of companies in 2015 to commit to going 100 percent cage-free within 10 years, Compassion in World Farming followed up by contacting companies directly and urging them to publicly disclose their progress.

The results, published in EggTrack last September, represented just 20 companies, and only three—Whole Foods, Hormel, Noodles & Company, and Shake Shack—had achieved the goal to eliminate the cages entirely.

“A commitment is just words on a website until those words are put into action said Nancy Roulston, director of corporate engagement for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Converting promises into procurement standards and supplier contracts is a ponderous process. Even though the largest retailer in the world, Walmart, has thrown its weight behind the issue and asked its suppliers to phase out gestation crates, change has been mixed and murky.

HSUS is now focusing its efforts on getting companies to own up to their oaths. “There has been dramatic change,” said Balk of HSUS. “It doesn’t mean that we should expect that if we don’t keep an eye on things that things will transition by 2022.”

Setting the Precedent for the Smithfield Effort

Country View Family Farms, a family-owned pork producer founded on the outskirts of Philadelphia in 1895, was the earliest U.S.-based adopter of group housing—the alternative to gestation crates—and the first U.S. company to install the no-crate technology that Smithfield has adopted.

In 2001, Country View President Bob Ruth began experimenting with the electronic sow feeding (ESF) technology developed in Europe that allows sows to live in open pens using chips implanted in their ears that track and regulate their health, feed, and other activities. After formally testing the technology in 2007, Country View found that ESF was a “home run” for animal care and productivity, and the company has installed ESF in all new barns and remodels ever since.

Ruth admits that the injury rate at Country View is a “little bit higher” in the open pen system when compared to gestation crates. According to Sara Shield, behavior and welfare specialist for Humane Society International, the recent research bears this out.

“Once they establish a dominance hierarchy, fighting is minimal as long as the subordinate animals have enough space to avoid the higher-ranking sows,” she said. But research shows there are many ways to reduce aggression.

At Country View, all other measures—from medication use to longevity—are better with ESF, Ruth said, and the company is currently testing another European system that would replace restrictive farrowing crates and allow interaction between the sow and her piglets.

While Smithfield is now urging its contractors to follow suit, the company is still confining pigs in gestation crates for the first 42 days after insemination (full term is 114 days), a fact that was not touted in the January announcement.

Still, on the animal welfare front, this is big progress.

Trader Joe’s and Still-Rising Consumer Pressure

Meanwhile, consumer concern about animal products is still rising. Trader Joe’s is the latest retailer facing a petition drive to abolish gestation crates from its pork supply. Spearheaded by the animal welfare group Crate-Free Illinois, the campaign is targeting the popular grocer because it is one of the holdouts on taking a stance against gestation crates.

“When it comes to animal welfare, retailers have a tremendous amount of power to do good and to stop animals from suffering unnecessarily,” said the group’s leader Jessica Chipkin. “Even if it’s in 10 years.”

In response to questions about the petition, Trader Joe’s replied by email to Civil Eats, “We have heard, understand, and care about the concerns of our customers regarding the use of crates in the pork supply chain,” the email said. “As a result, we have clarified for our customers the products we carry that are from a crate-free supply. Additionally, in the next several months, we will be moving our fresh pork offerings to a crate-free [gestation and farrowing] supply and will clarify this crate-free attribute on the product labels for our customers.”

However, after a silent protest by Crate-Free Illinois at Trader Joe’s corporate headquarters in Monrovia, California last week, the company was unable to make a more specific commitment.

Demanding improved animal welfare on farms is relatively easy. But the true test will come when shoppers at retailers like Trader Joe’s, are faced with the higher prices associated with funding the transitional costs required to improve the lives of the pigs behind their bacon.

“When consumers support brands that have already eliminated cruel practices,” said Roulston. “They show other companies that they will lose business if they don’t follow through on promises.”

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  1. Molly Ursini
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    With all due respect reading this makes me feel that we are missing the point all together. If we are doing what is best for the animals, doesn’t seem that we should not raise them in a natural conditions only to slaughter them and eat them?
    This is So heartbreaking 💔!! When showing these photos of the real cost of our food, aka lives and souls, can we also share alternatives with people?
    For instance, @parmelacreamery has amazing cheeses, @benandjerrys now has delish non-dairy options, @beyondmeat has some of the best burgers I’ve ever had BONUS they are made of pea protein so super healthy source as well. @thrivecausmetics, @stellamccartney,
    Let’s give alternatives and help our animal friends and make it easy to grow our plant based community.
    We (I) may not be perfect with every choice...but if we create awareness, and we (I) try our best, slow and steady wins the race. By consuming plant based alternatives, they will only become more readily available and accessible to all.
    Thank you for sharing the anguish of these mother’s so we can make a change for her And the 33 billion other land animals that are slaughtered each year for food, much of which is with that after all of that torture and turmoil...✨ 🐖 🐷 ✨
    #friendsnotfood#notourstoeat
  2. steve stone
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    The entire animals for food industry is a horrific and totally disgusting thing. Animals need to be on small farms and killed painlessly and treated in every aspect with care and compassion. The costs of animal foods needs to go UP and treat it as a delicacy .. like Cavier. thereby reducing the impact on the environment, and all the diseases that are created by our overeating of animal products. It was never intended to be this way..
  3. Ella Burfield
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I am striving to only purchase food products that have been raised/produced in humane conditions. Cage and crate free and preferably pastured raised.
  4. Bratton household
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    The Bratton house has STOPPED buying any meats from Trader Joe's until the corporation up holds more human practices.
  5. Julia Rold
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Thank you for you work to improve animal welfare. I am disturbed the the practices of the meat industry and will do whatever I can to ensure that animals are treated humanely.
  6. Betty Covington
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    The Injustice of the Innocent & Voiceless! All animals deserve lives free from human-inflicted suffering. As the highest created being, humans have a moral obligation to be wise stewards of animals. Just because we happen to be the most powerful species on earth, we humans have the ability, but not the right, to abuse the so-called lower animals. The ends do NOT justify the means!
  7. nancy
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    this is not right, no animal should be treated like this
  8. Diane Kyte
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I have solved the whole problem. I have become a vegetarian. But at least there is Trader Joe's to go for pork products if you have to.

    Industrial meat producers: When you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing.
    • Mark W
      Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
      Did you read the whole article? Trader Joe's is one of the last places you should buy pork products!

      Even so, going veg is a good solution.
  9. Jean Johnston
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Only when we eliminate factory farming altogether and cease looking at animals as mere products will we be able to call ourselves a truly civilized, enlightened society.
  10. Carmella Gioio
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I shop at Trader Joe's expecting them to be among the businesses I deal with that are ethical in their treatment of animals and the environment. If I wanted to support animal cruelty, I have a number of big chains I could shop at. It is important for our food chain to be humane and sustainable, for the health of the animals and the humans involved. All animals, including ourselves, need to eat. We need to be as humane as possible while doing so.
  11. Sandra Hardesty
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Good read. This is a good alternative to
    continually showing heart wrenching pictures of animals in distress. I think both serve a cause, but this alternative, I think leaves a better mark on hearts around the world. I am a member of SPCA(and International) and Change.org. and several others. I grew up on a farm, and have lived in the city most of my life. We have a ways to go to be civil in the care of animals, period. I stop buying Tyson, Spyder, and Amazon products. These are huge company’s with huge resources and they should set an example and lead the way towards humane treatment of animals. This is a big fight, and it will take all of us to win for those who do not have a voice.

    Thank you,

    Sandr Hardesty
  12. Jacqueline Sharp
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Stop caging these animals. It is cruel and needless.
  13. Diana Lewis
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I am realizing that such pervasive practices of the inhumane treatment of animals has been an unacceptable standard and is further stymied by inaccurate advertising. Please realize that you have the support of many! We who can no longer tolerate sitting at the dinner table knowing the suffering behind the meat that we are about to consume find encouragement in your diligent years of demanding change!
    Thank you!
  14. kristen davis
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    This is such great work and a great overview of the whole situation. As a weekly Trader Joe's shopper (and a veg) - what specifically can I do locally at the two Trader Joe's stores in my town? Is it helpful to try to talk to our local store managers about putting continued pressure on their corporate leadership teams to work towards NO MORE crates? Thanks for all you do.
  15. cassy
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I won't shop at trader joe's knowing that they support gestation crates! This is cruel for the sows!
  16. Debbie Valenti
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    MY HEART JUST BREAKS FOR THESE SMART DEFENSELESS ANIMALS!!! WHAY DO THEY HAVE TO LIVE IN A CRATE THEY CANT STAND IN OR TURN AROUND IN!!' NO ANIMAL SHOULD SUFFER THERE ENTIRE LIFE LIVING THIS WAY!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE MONSTERS WHERE IS HUMANITY? WHERE IS YOUR HEART AND COMPASSION AND EMPATHY?????? THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO TORTURE THESE ANIMALS THEY HAVE A HEART AND VERY SMART!!!!
    • george
      Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
      Unfortunately, only money does matter for most of humans on Earth. It makes me sick too. I am ashamed been a human.
  17. Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    The only way to really ensure your meat is treated properly is to raise your own. My 2-6 pigs have 2 stalls and a half acre of wooded hillside.
  18. Carol westerman
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Thank you for you article leaves me feeling quite sad for the poor pigs that will have to continue to endure this prison sentence .. i’d Love these farmers to spend a day experiencing the life these
    Defenceless animals have to endure.. we humans have a lot to feel guilty for we need to stop
    Buying their pork hit them in them in there pockets best thing go vegetarian or even better vegan !!
  19. Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    So disgusting and sad that God's creatures are created so horrifically. These animals fell emotions and pain. Can you imagine being in a bathtub all your life, I repeat all your life never allowed to feel the grass under your feet or relax comfortably, laying on cement or wood in your own secretions. Imagine not even being able to take a walk. Have your babies stolen from you after every time you are forcefully bred nonstop. After you are to sick, tired, and to breed, the only day you are slightly free, you are taken to a terrifying slaughter. People we have to boycott Pork it's the only way to end this torture of helpless captive animals.
  20. Elyse DeWyngaert
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Smithfield was sold to a Chinese entity in 2013, don't expect "animal welfare" to be a high priority. The Chinese don't have statutes to prevent animal abuse, they have zero concern for animal welfare and practice destructive testing on dogs/cats for cosmetics sold in China. They have no barriers against torturing dogs/cats as part of their dog and cat meat festivals. Angora rabbits have their fur removed in such a rough manner that the rabbits are left bloody and bruised.
    Clearly factory farming here in the States have their focus on production and profits, not humane treatment or living conditions.
  21. Judy Lindley
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I will not shop at Trader Joe's until there is a commitment that animals are not kept in gestational crates from their suppliers.
    Let's pray that more people will eat more plant based foods and stop eating animal flesh, for their health and for the animals!
  22. Louise Gallagher
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Our very wealthy animal advocates, HSUS, ASPCA should get off of their duff and check these corporations several times a year. They have the money and brag on how much they care about the welfare of our animals. They have the power to do something.
  23. Tim Carrasco
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I don't understand how the very creatures who provide us nourishment, are treated with no dignity and no respect. Why are these poor, defenseless animals treated in such an inhumane manner, considering all they do for us? They feed us, they provide jobs and in some cases, they provide companionship as a pet, yet they are treated worse than a criminal on death row.
    Please find it in your hearts to treat these animals in the manner they deserve to be treated, outside of a cage. They do so much for your company, why not provide them with a comfortable life.
  24. Pat Nardone
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Please help the pigs.
  25. Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Pigs deserve room and opportunity to be outdoors.
  26. Elizabeth Albright
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Eating animals is what cannibals do. Is that what most humans are? It is disgusting, cruel and deplorable. Also remember what goes around comes around and that means YOU!
    • george
      Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
      Well said
  27. Aisha Harley
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    It is time for this to stop - I will not be purchasing your products at your store until it does.
  28. Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I am very pleased to note some encouraging news regarding pork to be raised in a crate free environment. I support all activity that abolishes the creuelty of raising a pig or any animal created only to be butchered. I realize how important products made from pigs in demand, as pork is one of my favorite foods. I will now buy a Smithfield product when there are also other tasty pork products. Perhaps if other buyers will agree we can encourage farmers to follow Smithfield example.
  29. george
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    i do not eat meat and i am very healthy and happy. In my 77, i can do much harder work than somebody in their 40-th.
    And I do not like any killing. I cannot understand how somebody carelessly watching dying animals. Are they able to feel their pain, suffering? Such people go to church asking God to be kind to them. But God will give them the same treatment as they give to animals, because for God any creature is equal and has equal right for life.
  30. Vic
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    WHAT A HORRIBLE LIFE THEY HAVE. WHO THINKS THIS IS OK? WHAT A SAD LIFE IN THOSE TIGHT METAL PRISONS. THEY HAVE NO VOICE - BUT, WE DO. DON'T BUY PORK UNTIL THINGS CHANGE.
  31. ANNE ROBERTS
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I shop pretty much exclusively at TJ's, but I will have to change that if they do not expand this to carrying ONLY cruelty-free pig products. In this day & age, the appalling lack of concern for the welfare of such highly intelligent and social animals as pigs, simply to provide consumers with cheap bacon, is unacceptable and unconscionable. Customers are also to blame, preferring to make their selections based on price rather than ethics and morality. Both parties need to do some serious soul-searching, and change accordingly.
  32. Carina Ramirez Cahan
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    It is important that we abolish all crating of pigs throughout our nation. This makes a difference to my purchase of pork products.
  33. Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    While its good to know that progress is being made to end the horrible captivity and confinement of pigs and other animals, there is still much more pressure and work to be done, for the animals'sakes. Companies should commit to ending crates and cages, as we know that the old-fashioned smaller farms are the more natural way to go. Mass production of food from farm animals in big companies and slaughterhouses is frowned down upon and not attractive to most consumers today. In fact they are horrible nightmares for the animals, and that does not appeal to most of us, who are more aware of farm animals plight and their lives of misery. Animals need fresh air and sunlight and grass under their feet - they are, after all, living, breathing, feeling beings, and intelligent too.
  34. Vartan Karasseferian
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Time has shown us that in the overwhelming majority of cases promises made by the food industry remained promises and were not followed by action. To quote your article: "A commitment is just words on a website until those words are put into action". Unfortunately most of the promises made by the food industry have remained promises. Laws should be passed and enforced to police this industry and hold it held accountable for their actions. Otherwise, they will keep on taking us for fools by make promises they fully know that they will not respect.
  35. Mikki Delci
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    I regularly shop at Trader Joe’s and will continue to and buy their more expensive brands of meat if the retailer will continue to look out for the welfare of the animals.
  36. Deanna Horton
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Disgusting how humans treat animals. Not only are they alive just to feed our fat asses but they also have to live their entire short lives with pain and cruelty. WRONG! Humans SUCK!
  37. Arden Down
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Please act responsibly & act to eliminate the cruel living & dying conditions of the helpless animals we eat!
  38. Denie
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    This is SICK, CRUEL, and so inhumane that you would treat ANY animal like this!!! I am beyond words. These companies discust me!!! And with all of the MILLIONS of $$$$ they make yearly why is it going to take so long to CHANGE the treatment of these pigs!!!! This is uncalled for. This change could happen immediately, by the end of this year!!! Don’t give us any BullShit!!!
    Change this “POLICY “ NOW!! No Excuses!!
  39. Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    This is a horrible way for these animals to live for their short lives.
  40. Sandra McKinney
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    Deplorable...
  41. Jo Marshall
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    So many people insist they are against animal abuse, cruelty, suffering and the inhumane treatment of animals, yet they don’t understand they are actively engaging in and supporting egregious suffering, abuse, cruelty and inhumane treatment when they eat animals and their ‘by-products.’ If you are against cruelty, suffering and inhumane treatment, then try to go vegan. It’s just that simple.
  42. Alice Christy
    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018
    It's promising to know positive efforts are being made to eliminate the inhumane practice of gestation crates. ESF appears to be a much better way to go, so please keep moving in that direction. Pigs are intelligent, sensitive animals that deserve a more comfortable humane life.
  43. Victoria Austin
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    It is my sincere wish that all factory farms transition to Kind Meats ,Kind Dairy, Kind Fish and Kind Dairy Products and Plant Based Foods..To use any animal as a commodity is cruel and we hope that all company's work to invest in brings Kind Meat Products to the Market Place such as Cargill and Bill Gates and other Company's are working on at this time..Everyone can profit in these industry's without bringing harm to the Planet, Animals, People and bringing about Climate Change. Please for your Children and future Generations do all that you can to do no harm to any living being and work towards a kinder future and preventing any damage to the planet
  44. Joy Ruth
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    Animal welfare is extremely important to me. I have every intention of keeping a very close eye on companies that raise farm animals. Animals and fowl deserve living accommodations that allow them to engage in activities natural to their species, including socialization with other animals, and access to fresh air and clean water. They should not be subjected to cruel practices including tail docking and trimming of beaks.
  45. Jean Warren
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    What is not in your article is the fact that a large Chinese company has now purchased Smithfield's. Do you really think they will change anything? As well, in Canada, and probably in America, Canadian provinces may make legislative changes to the factory farming of pork but it is STILL up to the company to make changes regarding the legislation, as no government staff will come in to inspect for those changes, so in fact, NOTHING changes! The question is:
    WHO is running our governments? This HORROR MUST END!
  46. kat Libert
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    We do not eat your unhealthy antibiotic fed gesitation crate animals because you treat them in an unclean inhumane manner! Why are they not farmed humanely? You take calf's away from the mother cow to take her milk for the calf.So dairy,meat,poultry is a commodity abused behind factory farm doors! No thank-you my family will eat clean farm raised animals!The U.S.A. IS FAR BEHIND EUROPE! Gesitation crates are steel prison pens !
  47. Sandy Pemberton
    Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    There is no place (nor has there ever been) for gestation crates on farmers' farms. Time to abolish them once and for all!!!
  48. Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    crates and all inhumane practices for pigs and chickens especilly since there are alternatives available to avoid it.
  49. Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
    To think about the meat we eat and what animals have endured throughout their lives to feed us. I know there is a lot of meat being wasted and thrown out by consumers and retailers and after all that suffering animals went through. I know about factory farms and they are brutal, can't even stomach the abuse. Animal abuse will never stop it is every where, degree professionals at universities and hospitals make a practice of horrific animal research abuse knowing this research produce no results. The USDA is pulling out of Animal Welfare Regulations and inspections allowing third party inspectors to abuse animals even more than before without a trace.
    The only reason some companies are going more animal friendly is because of the backlash of consumers, and you do not really know if the promise to care for animal more humane will be held true to their word. I personally hope every person who abuse animals for KARMA to come back on them ten fold. This world is full of greedy insane people.
  50. Katy
    Friday, March 23rd, 2018
    Thank you for this excellent article.
  51. Sarah Guilfoyle
    Friday, March 23rd, 2018
    I NEVER support companies or organisations who profit from someone's or something's misery. I make an emphatic point to tell everyone I know who I boycott and why. I shall spread the word about Trader Joe's. What an abhorrent practice.
  52. Marie Serino
    Friday, March 23rd, 2018
    Please don't give up - there has to be a humane way.
  53. lisa goldsmith
    Friday, March 23rd, 2018
    There should be more organized protests at several Trader Joes shops in Los Angeles....
  54. Kriste wilkerson
    Friday, March 23rd, 2018
    It's time to act. stop these cruel practices
  55. mudgie paleno
    Friday, March 23rd, 2018
    The answer is stop eating animals We do not have to eat the bodies of mammals.People are hogs.
  56. Marilyn Matthew
    Tuesday, March 27th, 2018
    Sounds to me that Trader Joe's is just fine with the type of practice he has going on with his company as of this date and don't care to change anything.
    Unless the consumer pays for Trader Joe's to change his practice I don't see this going anywhere. The sows cry's go unheard.
  57. Karen Adams
    Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
    It should be a law that all have a right to Exercise and Health, esp pregnant! Females, Dogs, Humans, Pigs... There's a HUGE direct relationship between the 2...

    HEALTH = EXERCISE!!!!

    These animals aren't even "put out to pasture"!!

    You have to realize that good body and brain chemistry, indicative of physical and mental health, is accomplished with the diet and exercise.

    Period!

    How would you like to be confined for months? How much dystrophy would your muscles, bones, joints endure if you were confined for months at a time? WHAT YOU DONT USE, YOU LOSE!!!!