Just days after farmers across the U.S. thanked Domino’s Pizza shareholders for voting not to discontinue buying pork from suppliers that use gestation stalls to confine pregnant sows, McDonald’s Corporation announced that they will discontinue such purchases, catering to the wishes of the Humane Society of the United States.
In this week’s HAT Commentary Gary Truitt says HSUS bullying and intimidation of retailers is what got to McDonalds. The National Pork Producers Council is disappointed with the McDonalds decision and NPPC President Elect and southwest Minnesota producer Randy Spronk agrees that activists are influencing how animals should be housed thereby taking away the right of producers to make those determinations.
“I think what you’ve got here is those decisions are being challenged by activists that are in my mind are manipulating the decision making process and then thereby, be it McDonalds, be it Safeway or other retailers, they’re listening to that and actually then taking away that moral judgment from animal agriculture on wha’s best for the animal.”
Spronk says this whole debate transcends housing issues and on a large scale affects livestock production practices for several species.
“What we’re going through is not just about sow housing. Sow housing is one issue. It comes down to a lot of the production practices that we do within animal agriculture, and who is best equipped and who should decide on how we handle these production practices.”
The Dominos decision was made after consulting industry experts about what’s best for the animals. The McDonald’s buying decision is set to go into effect by 2022.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/06/NPPC-McDonalds-reaction.mp3|titles=NPPC McDonalds reaction]
Tuesday statement from NPPC:
It is very disconcerting that retailers, in making decisions about sourcing pork products, continue to succumb to the pressure of activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States without any consideration of the impact on American farm families, who produce the safe and affordable pork that they sell to consumers. These unilateral and impulsive announcements are made without any recognition that nearly all of the pork products produced in the United States today come from facilities built for the validated practice of gestation stalls.
Nowhere in the announcements is there any discussion on the willingness of these companies to pay for these requests. These are very complex issues that require interaction of the complete supply chain. Simply making an announcement without understanding the supply chain’s ability to meet the requests or the costs associated with them are simply irresponsible. Our customers need to understand that these announcements come with severe and unintended consequences.
We believe there is a responsibility to ensure that there is transparency, and these food retailers have an obligation to assure their customers that the product they are purchasing is coming from verified sources.
These forced changes on our producers’ choice of sow housing may very well put hog farmers out of business and will certainly increase the price of pork for consumers.
We are American farm families and take great pride in our track record of producing a safe, affordable and healthful food for the American consumer. We think we deserve to be part of these decisions that are being asked of us.
NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org.