In recent years, a growing number of major U.S. companies that demand and supply pork products have adopted strategies that explicitly move away from direct or indirect use of gestation crates in pork production. McDonald’s Corp.—a major buyer of pork products—and thus an indirect user of gestation crates—recently announced that it would require its pork suppliers to submit plans by May 2012 that transition suppliers’ production facilities from use of gestation crates, to group sow housing. McDonald’s thus joins other major U.S. buyers of pork products 1 along with major U.S and Canadian pork-producing companies, in adopting business models that incorporate group sow housing in pork production.2 Pork users and pork producers appear to be making this move in response to a developing public perception that crating sows during gestation is detrimental to the welfare of the animal.
For the last 30 years, typical U.S. hog production has employed individual crates to house pregnant females during gestation. The typical gestation crate measures 7 feet by 2 feet, or 14 square feet, and was adopted by the industry to overcome innate hierarchical swine behavior.
Wednesday May 16, 2012/ ERS-USDA/ United States.