According to the Humane Society of the United States – Sonic Drive-In has announced its intention to only accept pork products from suppliers that do not use gestation-sow stalls by the year 2022. Sonic is just the latest in a growing list of restaurants and retail chains to state similar objectives. The National Pork Producers Council has voiced concern with this growing trend – stating that retailers are succumbing to pressure from groups like HSUS without considering the impact on American farm families. University of Missouri Ag Economist Ron Plain recently found that only 17.3-percent of sows spend a portion of gestation in open pens. He surveyed pork operations with one-thousand or more sows and received responses from 70 operations that altogether own about 3.6-million of the nation’s 5.7-million sows.
NPPC President R.C. Hunt – a North Carolina pork producer – said Plain’s survey shows that the food companies haven’t thought through the complexities, logistics or implications of their requests. NPPC says these forced changes on producers’ choice of sow housing could put hog farmers out of business and will certainly increase the price of pork for consumers.