February 1, 2007


Maple Leaf to phase out hog gestation stalls



Maple Leaf Foods, a Canadian food processing company said it would phase out the use of sow gestation stalls and introduce group housing at all its hog production operations within the next 10 years.


Growing concerns over gestation stalls recently saw Smithfield Foods undertaking a similar measure.


Maple Leaf said it had studied alternative housing methods and supported initiatives which responded to consumer opinion as well as the science, in making decisions about the welfare of animals in the company's care.


Hog producers across North America use both group pens and stalls to house sows during pregnancy. While a body of research into both methods exists and is ongoing, to date no conclusive evidence exists that one leads to better herd health than the other, or is a superior production technique.