WASHINGTON – The National Pork Producers Council responded to the recent announcement by Burger King Corp. that it would require its pork suppliers to phase out gestation housing for sows and transition to cage-free eggs by 2017, saying the Humane Society of the United States’ campaign against producers would raise prices for consumers and put many family hog operations out of business.

“While NPPC respects the right of companies to make business decisions that are in their best interests, it seems that Burger King was bullied by an animal-rights group whose ultimate goal is the elimination of food-animal production,” NPPC said in a statement.

Burger King Corp. announced the supply-chain mandates earlier this week. NPPC said it supports the position of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, which is that gestation stalls and group housing systems can support the well-being of sows during pregnancy. The organization said there is no scientific consensus on the best way to house pregnant sows because each type of housing system has advantages and disadvantages.

“The Humane Society of United States has no concern for the hog farmers who care for their pigs every day, for families struggling to purchase food or for the hog farms that likely will go out of business – costing rural America thousands of jobs – because of its campaign against America’s farmers and ranchers.”

In related news, Domino’s Pizza shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a request from HSUS to study the feasibility of requiring its suppliers to phase out gestation crates, according to news reports. The vote was 80 percent against the resolution and 4 percent in favor, said Tim McIntyre, Domino’s spokesman. The remaining 16 percent abstained from the vote.