JBS, owner of SEARA, Brazil’s second largest pork producer and the world’s largest animal processing company, announced it will completely phase out of the use of gestation crates to confine breeding sows. In June of this year, JBS announced a phase out of gestation crates at all company-owned facilities, and has now extended this policy to also include all contract producers. According to JBS, the company will transition to group housing systems for breeding sows in its entire supply chain by 2025.
Carolina Galvani, Humane Society International Farm Animals’ senior campaign manager in Brazil said: “We welcome JBS’s commitment to ending one of the most abusive practices in animal agribusiness and switching to more humane crate-free group housing systems. Brazil and the rest of the world is moving away from gestation crates and we look forward to working with other producers in the country on similar policies.”
BRF, Brazil’s largest pork producer, as well as other leading global pork producers Smithfield Foods, Cargill, Maple Leaf Foods, and Hormel have already transitioned or are transitioning to crate-free group housing systems. The largest food companies in the world are also adopting crate-free purchasing policies, committing to only purchase pork from producers that use group housing systems. 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 adopt group housing systems, including in Brazil. 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 adopted crate-free purchasing policies for their supply chains in the United States.
The continuous confinement of breeding sows has been banned throughout the European Union and numerous U.S. states. Gestation crates 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.
Pigs are highly intelligent, active, and social animals. Yet, in Brazil, as in many countries, 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.
Media contact: Carolina Galvani, firstname.lastname@example.org