OMAHA – ConAgra Foods, Inc. said the company supports eliminating gestation housing for pregnant sows in addition to creating traceability systems within its pork supply chain.

“As part of our long-standing commitment to the humane treatment and handling of animals, ConAgra Foods supports the elimination of gestation stall housing for sows," the company said in a prepared statement. "We are asking our pork suppliers to present actionable plans by 2017 that address both the elimination of gestation stalls and creation of traceability systems within the pork supply chain.

"We recognize that implementing a phase-out may be a long-term process, and could take up to 10 years," the statement continued. "ConAgra Foods intends to continue working with pork suppliers who share our commitment to the best animal welfare and handling practices.”

ConAgra Foods is a leading North American food company that owns brands such as Chef Boyardee, Hebrew National, Marie Callender’s and Slim Jim Meat Sticks and Beef Jerky.

“We applaud ConAgra Foods tackling one of the most serious farm animal welfare problems,” stated Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for The Humane Society of the United States. “This policy makes it even clearer than ever that the cruel gestation crate confinement of pigs will come to an end.”

ConAgra Foods joins a long list of major food companies and retailers that have announced intentions to eliminate gestation housing from their supply chains, including: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Kraft (Oscar Mayer), Heinz, Campbell Soup, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Sonic, Baja Fresh, Jack in the Box, Kmart, Compass Group, Aramark, Sysco, Sodexo, Subway and Wienerschnitzel.