MADISON, Wis. – On the same day CKE Restaurants took a similar stand against suppliers’ use of gestation housing, Kraft Foods’ Oscar Mayer brand announced on July 6 plans to transition away from this traditional means of sow housing in favor of alternatives by the end of 2022. In a press release, Oscar Mayer said its goal is to work with suppliers who implement housing that “safely allows for greater movement for the animal, while ensuring their comfort.”
The announcement by CKE and Oscar Mayer is the latest in a flurry of similar announcements from foodservice and retailers moving toward working with suppliers not using gestation housing, including Sonic, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Denny’s and Safeway.
In late May, after McDonald’s announced a commitment to require its suppliers to phase out gestation housing within 10 years, the National Pork Board was quick to point out how alternatives, such as group housing, poses its own set of animal-welfare challenges. “When sows are thrown together they can become very aggressive,” responded Everett Forkner, president of the NPB, who is a hog producer based in Richards, Mo. “Dominant sows physically attack the others, bite them and steal their food. The housing used by most farmers was designed to protect sows from this bullying while they are most vulnerable, during their pregnancies.”
“At Oscar Mayer, we believe quality meat begins with quality animal care. We are committed to finding better ways to keep animals healthy and in a safe environment while treating them with respect,” said Sydney Lindner, associate director of corporate affairs for Oscar Mayer. “This is not only important to us, but also to our consumers who care about animal well-being and comfort.”