|Clemens Food Group will eliminate gestation stalls in favor of group housing systems for sows.|
HATFIELD, Pa. – Clemens Food Group, parent company of Hatfield Quality Meats, plans to phase out the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows by 2022. The plan covers the animals owned by the company in addition to independent producers and contractors.
The company joins major processors such as Cargill and Smithfield foods, which also are converting to group housing systems. Clemens Food Group made the decision to transition to a "free to roam" group housing system several years ago, the company said in a statement.
"All of our new farms are being built with free to roam, or open pen gestation," the company said. "As we remodel older farms we transition these farms to free to roam as well. This decision was based on diligent review of sound research, and our ongoing commitment to give the best care to our animals.
"The transition to free to roam housing is a complex process that takes years to complete. However, we have committed to our goal of converting all of our company owned farms to free to roam housing by 2017. We are currently on track to exceed that goal."
Clemens Food Group is a privately owned pork production and processing company with more than $500 million in annual sales and 2,200 employees.