BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Arcos Dorados, the largest McDonald’s franchisee Latin America, will require its pork suppliers to submit documented plans within two years to limit the use of gestation crates for sows with plans for alternative group housing.

All pork procured by Arcos Dorados by the end of 2016 will be sourced by producers that can demonstrate documented plans to promote group housing for their sows. To accomplish this, the company is working very closely with producers, suppliers and other stakeholders to assess how to support producers migrating to group housing systems.

“We have great relationships and confidence in our suppliers, with a shared commitment to leading animal welfare practices," said Horacio Sbrolla, vice president of supply chain at Arcos Dorados Latin America. The goal was developed with input from its suppliers, pork producers, animal-welfare experts and McDonald´s US.

The move in Latin America follows the commitment by McDonald´s US to end the use of gestation stalls in its supply chain by 2022. Dr. Temple Grandin, renowned animal welfare expert at Colorado State Univ., member of McDonald's Animal Welfare Council and longtime Meat&Poultry magazine columnist, said, "This first step will impact 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The timeline that Arcos Dorados has outlined will encourage research and identify better group housing alternatives, while ensuring higher standards of animal welfare. It is only a first step, but a first step in the right direction. I commend Arcos Dorados for leading in Latin America on this issue."

Arcos Dorados calls itself the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee in terms of systemwide sales and number of restaurants, operating the largest quick-service restaurant chain in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has the exclusive right to own, operate and grant franchises of McDonald’s restaurants in 20 countries and territories. It operates or franchises more than 2.062 McDonald’s-branded restaurants with over 95,000 employees serving approximately 4.3 million customers a day.