December 9, 2011
Smithfield Foods to stop gestation crates use by 2017
Smithfield Foods said Thursday (Dec 8) that its facilities will phase out the use of gestation crates for female hogs while pregnant by 2017.
The Smithfield, Va.-based company has been criticized for continuing to breed sows in the crates that severely restrict the animals' movement.
The Humane Society of the US filed a federal complaint last month saying Smithfield was misleading consumers by suggesting it does not abuse pigs. The group says the gestation crates and other abuses continue.
Smithfield Foods had been in the process of converting a number of its sow farms from individual gestation stalls to group housing for pregnant sows, but hadn't said when that transition would be finished.
The company says "Moving into the second half of fiscal 2012, we anticipate that global demand for pork will remain robust, which should fuel strong fresh pork profitability. At the same time, we expect to sustain solid fundamentals in our hog production business. Our international business is trending in the right direction, and we expect to see better results in that segment going forward. Most importantly though, we are encouraged by the momentum we are building in our packaged meats business and will continue to execute our strategy to position Smithfield as a leading packaged meats company. We remain focused on achieving our targeted 3% volume growth by increasing customer-focused marketing and strengthening our innovation pipeline, while exercising strong pricing discipline and focusing on operational improvements to maintain consistent margins."