Bob Evans Farms to Change Sow Housing Policy15 March 2013
US - US meat processor Bob Evans Farms is to source all its pig meat from suppliers that do not use gestation crates by 2025.
The company has said that it will work with iyts Animal Well-beling Committee to support groups that are researching new systems of pig housing to find the best way forward.
A statement from the compoany said: “Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is committed to the responsible care of animals that are raised to provide food products for our customers.
"We have an obligation to meet the expectations of our consumers on food quality, food safety and the well-being of animals. We also recognise that many challenges exist with respect to sow housing, and that some current systems may not provide ample space for gestating sows.
“To meet those responsibilities, decisions made by our company must be ethically grounded, scientifically verified, sustainable and economically viable.
"As part of that decision-making process, Bob Evans Farms recently held extensive discussions with a wide range of stakeholders – including farmers, customers, industry trade groups and animal rights advocates – to discuss housing systems for gestating sows.
“Bob Evans Farms’ internal experts consulted regularly on sow housing with members of our Animal Well-Being Committee, which includes three independent outside experts in animal behavior and well-being. We also considered academic research and scientific literature that examined the advantages and disadvantages of individual and group housing environments for gestating sows.
“Our key learning is this – the single-most critical factor in ensuring animal well-being is not the housing system itself, but rather the animal husbandry practiced by those who care for the sows. Although there is no perfect housing system available, we will remain focused on quality animal care from trained, qualified caretakers and a safe on-farm working environment.
“Consistent with the livestock care standards adopted in our home state of Ohio, by 2025, we will require all suppliers to source animals from housing systems that provide the animals with ample opportunity for movement and comfort and ensure the safety of the workers who care for them.
"We believe this is best achieved by transitioning from conventional gestation stall housing to systems that provide greater freedom of movement and individual care and safety.
"To help us reach that goal, we will continue to seek counsel from our Animal Well-Being Committee and to support groups that conduct research on hog housing.”
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