Kroger – the second-largest supermarket system in the U.S. is encouraging its pork suppliers to accelerate the transition to stall-free housing for pregnant sows. Wayne Pacelle – President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States – says Kroger has taken an important step for animal welfare in declaring that the pork industry must find an exit strategy for its use of gestation crates. But the National Pork Producers Council says it’s disconcerting that retailers continue to succumb to the pressure of activist groups like HSUS in making decisions about sourcing pork products without considering the impact on American farm families. NPPC says announcements like this come with severe and unintended consequences. The group says forcing changes on producers could put hog farmers out of business and will increase the price of pork for consumers.
NPPC says the unilateral, impulsive announcements are made without any recognition that nearly all pork products produced in the U.S. today come from facilities built for the validated practice of gestation stalls. The group notes there is no discussion in the announcements of the willingness of the companies to pay for their requests. According to NPPC – these are complex issues that require interaction of the complete supply chain. The group says it’s irresponsible to simply make an announcement without understanding the supply chain’s ability to meet the requests – or the associated costs.