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Dow Jones reports that Safeway said yesterday that it plans to “eventually sell pork that comes from farms that don't confine breeding sows into small crates known as gestation stalls.” While companies like McDonald’s and Burger King have made similar pronouncements, the story notes that Safeway is the first supermarket chain to go this far.

And, the story says, “The commitment from Safeway, with its 1,678 stores in the U.S. and Canada, is substantial for those who believe the use of the gestation stall are inhumane because the company is the fifth-largest grocery retailer in the U.S.

“The stalls are narrow two-feet-wide cages used to confine breeding sows, which bear offspring that are slaughtered to make pork products. Breeding sows often can't turn around in the narrow stalls and are limited to standing up or sitting down.”

Mercy For Animals, a advocacy group that has been pushing for the change, said that it “is cautiously optimistic about Safeway's plan to move toward a gestation crate-free supply chain. The pork industry's use of gestation crates is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence and we praise Safeway for acknowledging that this cruel system is unsustainable and must be phased out. By speaking out against these inherently cruel crates, Safeway is taking a positive step forward in improving animal welfare.

“We hope this announcement is more than PR hogwash and that Safeway acts quickly to remove these cruel confinement systems from its supply chain to spare millions of animals horrific misery and suffering.”
KC's View:
“Hogwash”? Really? That’s the best word they could come up with in this story? (There’s probably a group of pigs somewhere that would say that such language is hurtful and cliched, and amounts to as kind of verbal abuse of the species.)

You’d think, by the way, that they’d be a little more gracious in an official statement designed to laud a company for moving in its direction.