National Pork Producers Council Focuses on Sow Housing Issues
National Pork Producers Council delegates at National Pork Forum have instructed their leadership to conduct a thorough evaluation of the existing literature on the matter of current sow housing options. The resolution passed unanimously. Also, delegates asked the National Pork Board to fund similar work to help producers improve housing systems on their farms and make foodservice and retail customers aware of procurement strategies based on perceptions that could be damaging to producer sustainability and to pork quality.
Most pork producers use gestation stalls for sows, although some are converting to or use group pens for sows in their gestation periods. Animal activists are pushing pens over stalls and winning support for pens from producers' foodservice and retail customers. R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, North Carolina, and new NPPC president says, the issue of sow housing "is so complex" that "we would be happy" to complete the evaluation in two years.
Noting that gestation stalls are “science supported”, Hill says, – the organization still believes that science-supported production practices – are the floor of our decisions. He says science cannot be abandoned in the interest of ending a controversy.