Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Gestation Crates Have No Place in U.S. Food Production (Op-Ed)

Wayne Pacelle is the president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This Op-Ed is adapted from a post on the blog A Humane Nation, where the content ran before appearing in LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

It's been a remarkable 18-month period when it comes to the movement to combat the intensive confinement of animals on factory farms.

The public, major food retailers, numerous producers and so many lawmakers have turned against the idea of allowing immobilization of animals as a customary animal-production practice.

Recently, USA Today not only condemned the farm bill amendmentintroduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) — which seeks to nullify state laws banning extreme confinement of animals and standards on food safety and animal welfare — but also affirmed its support for federal legislation to ban the extreme confinement of laying hens in barren battery cages.

But perhaps the biggest story of the period has been the repudiation of gestation crates — confinement cages for breeding sows in the pig industry — by the nation's major food sellers. After McDonald'sannounced its plan to phase out the crates in February 2012, Burger King, Safeway, Costco, Cracker Barrel, Sodexo and about 50 other major food retailers followed suit.

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