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June 3, 2015

JBS to Abandon Lifelong Confinement of Breeding Sows in Gestation Crates

Humane Society International welcomes announcement from major Brazilian pork producer

Humane Society International

  • © Anthony Gaudio/iStockphoto

JBS, owner of SEARA, Brazil’s second largest pork producer and the world’s largest animal protein processing company, announced in its sustainability report plans to phase out the use of gestation crates to confine breeding sows at all company-owned facilities.

Humane Society International, one of the world’s largest animal protection NGOs, welcomes the company’s commitment to end one of the most abusive practices in animal agribusiness. According to JBS, the transition to group housing systems will be completed by 2016. The company also stated that all new units will adopt group housing systems for breeding sows and that their contract suppliers will also receive support in the transition to this housing system.

Carolina Galvani, HSI’s senior farm animal campaign manager in Brazil, said: “We applaud JBS for joining other major companies and governments that are moving away from the cruel confinement of sows in gestation crates. We urge the company to extend this policy to all of its contract suppliers."

Let them move! Say no to cages and crates.

Pigs are highly intelligent, active and social animals. Yet, in Brazil, most breeding sows are confined in individual gestation crates for virtually their entire lives. These cages are barely larger than the animals’ bodies and prevent the animals from turning around or taking more than a few steps forward or backward. Sows confined in crates are likely to experience boredom, frustration and psychological trauma. They can also suffer from numerous health problems due to the confinement, such as urinary infections and lameness.

Facts:

  • JBS’s announcement comes six months after BRF, Brazil’s largest pork producer, agreed to phase out gestation crates.
  • Last year, Arcos Dorados, the largest McDonald’s franchisee in Latin America and the Caribbean, announced that all of its pork suppliers must present documented plans to limit the use of gestation crates and adopt group housing systems, including in Brazil.
  • Group housing systems are economically viable and major pig producers around the globe are successfully implementing them, including Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pig producer, and other major producers like Hormel, Cargill and Maple Leaf Foods.
  • Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, has committed to eliminating gestation crates from its global supply chain, and more than 60 of the largest food companies, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway, have eliminated or are eliminating pork from producers that use gestation crates from the supply chains in the U.S.
  • The continuous confinement of breeding sows has been banned throughout the European Union, Canada and nine U.S. states. It will also be phased-out in New Zealand by 2015 and Australia by 2017. The South Africa Pork Producers Organization expects to phase them out by 2020.

Media contact:
Raul Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, +1 304.721.6440

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