Denny’s is the latest restaurant chain to vow that it will be nicer to its pigs.
The nationwide diner chain says it will work with its suppliers to eliminate the practice of confining pigs in gestation crates for its bacon, sausage, and other pork products. Denny’s and The Humane Society of the United States have worked together to address animal welfare issues for more than five years, and the restaurant giant’s pledge on gestation crates is just the latest positive action taken by the company, the Human Society said.
In the pork industry, most mother pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates, cages roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies, preventing them from moving or turning around. They are then placed into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization.
“Denny’s takes its role as a responsible corporate citizen seriously, which is why we have adopted a strong position on animal welfare,” said Greg Linford, Denny’s vice president, procurement and distribution. “We will endeavor to purchase products from companies that provide gestation crate-free pork and are committed to influencing our suppliers to share in a gestation crate-free vision for the future. Working to eliminate gestation crates is best for our company, our guests, and our continued work to improve animal welfare.”
“We’ve got a very good relationship with Denny’s, and the company is serious about dealing with farm animal welfare issues in a meaningful way,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for The HSUS. “We welcome the news that Denny’s will move its supply chain to a gestation crate-free future.”
The Humane Society says things are looking up for pigs. It released this compilation of hopeful signs:
- Denny’s is one of the largest restaurant chains in the country, operating more than 1,650 locations across the U.S. In 2008, the company began switching millions of eggs to cage-free eggs – those that do not come from hens kept in notoriously cramped battery cages.
- McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s recently announced that they will require suppliers to deliver plans for eliminating gestation crates. Compass Group – the largest food service company in the world, operating 10,000 dining facilities in the U.S. – also recently announced that it will eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain by 2017. And Bon Appétit Management Company, another leading food service provider, has committed to be gestation crate-free within three years.
- Pork providers Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill is already 50 percent crate-free. Eight U.S. states have passed laws to ban the practice and Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont have bills pending that would do the same.
- Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Dr. Temple Grandin, is clear on this issue: “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”