UNION CITY, Tenn. — Williams Sausage Company announced it would work with its suppliers to phase out gestation stalls.

“Williams Sausage Company takes the welfare of animals very seriously, and we support the elimination of gestation stall housing for sows,” Roger Williams, CEO, said in a letter to The Humane Society of the United States. “We are asking our suppliers to present their plans by 2017 that address the elimination of gestation stalls, with an understanding that a phase-out may be a long-term process and could take up to ten years. Working together with our suppliers Williams Sausage is committed to continuous improvement of animal welfare practices in our industry.”

HSUS applauded the move.

“We welcome Williams Sausage's decision to work with its suppliers to eliminate gestation crates,” said Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for The HSUS. “With so many of the top pork buyers enacting similar policies, the pork industry's future is assuredly one without inhumane gestation crates.”

The Union City-based company produces bacon and a variety of pork products, including value-added items such as link sausage, patties and microwaveable breakfast sandwiches.