McDonald’s USA announced a 10-year plan to phase out gestation stalls in a press statement on May 31. The company’s goal is to source all pork for its U.S. business from producers who don’t house pregnant sows in gestation stalls by the end of 2022.
“Our approach seeks to build on the work already in place, and we are also sensitive to the needs of the smaller, independent pork producers in phasing out of gestation stalls,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management.
However, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) expressed consternation with the phase out and suggested other food companies consider the supply chain realities before making similar decisions.
“We’d be glad to discuss with food companies challenges caused by a transition in production systems. But the bottom line is, regardless of any difficulties, the issue of sow housing is about providing the best care possible for our animals. Individual sow housing allows us an option to give that best care,” said NPPC President R.C. Hunt.
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians recognize gestation stalls as appropriate for the well-being of sows during pregnancy, NPPC added in its statement.
The Humane Society of the U.S., on the other hand, described the McDonald's announcement as a new victory for animal-rights groups, according to Reuters.