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FROM DAWNWATCH.COM<br><br><br><br>
The Thursday, January 25 Wall Street Journal includes an article by Lauren Etter headed, "Smithfield to Phase Out Crates. Big Pork Producer Yields To Activists, Customers, On Animal-Welfare Issue." (pg 14)<br><br><br><br>
The article opens:<br><br><br><br>
"Smithfield Foods Inc., the nation's largest pork producer, plans to announce today that it will phase out "gestation crates" at all of its company-owned sow farms over the next decade.<br><br><br><br>
"The company has come under fire by animal-rights activists in recent years over the crates, where some female pigs can spend most of their lives. The issue also played a role in last year's midterm elections.<br><br><br><br>
"Smithfield is the first major pork producer to move to ban the crates, but the company's efforts may not be fast enough for critics. 'It's a big step,' says Bernard Rollin, a professor of philosophy at Colorado State University and animal-rights researcher. But 'it's not quick enough.'"<br><br><br><br>
Rollins says about the crates: "If you see one you'll never forget it."<br><br><br><br>
You can at least see a picture of one, and also a video, on the HSUS website where there is a press release about the Smithfield announcement: <a href="http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournews/nations_largest_pork.html" target="_blank">http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournew...gest_pork.html</a><br><br><br><br>
The Wall Street Journal articles tells us that in the crates, sows "can't turn around, walk or stretch their legs." The sow goes to a farrowing crate to give birth and then is reintroduced to the gestation crate shortly later when she becomes pregnant again by artificial insemination.<br><br><br><br>
We read:<br><br><br><br>
"Smithfield will replace the crates with 'group housing,' where the animals can socialize with one another. The pens will hold between six and 55 sows, depending on the size of the barn, according to the company. The crates at Smithfield's farms will be phased out completely by 2017. The company also contracts with farms. At those farms crates will have to be phased out by 2027."<br><br><br><br>
The article notes that the move comes as a result of pressure from Smithfield customers such as McDonald's and Wal-Mart. It also notes,<br><br>
"Arizona voters passed an initiative, called the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, which requires farmers to house sows in pens larger than the gestation crates. In 2002 Florida passed a similar regulation. The gestation crates are banned in Europe."<br><br><br><br>
It is probably fair to say that Smithfield saw the writing on the wall -- the industry fears a similar ballot initiative in California will be next -- and volunteered some change. It is important for animal advocates to note, however, that the Smithfield changes will not come into effect for ten or twenty years, and also that the changes hardly make life on the factory farms -- in communal concrete pens -- a pleasure.<br><br><br><br>
If you missed the superb article about Smithfield in the December 14, 2006 edition of Rolling Stone, check it out at <a href="http://tinyurl.com/vr8vn" target="_blank">http://tinyurl.com/vr8vn</a><br><br>
It surely added significantly to the pressure that has brought about this move.<br><br><br><br>
You'll find the a pre-view of today's Wall Street Journal article on line at <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116969807556687337.html" target="_blank">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116969807556687337.html</a>
 

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Wow. It's definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully they'll be able to get it done quicker than they are estimating.
 

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any indication of how much room they'll have in "group housing"?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>WonderRandy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
any indication of how much room they'll have in "group housing"?</div>
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I was wondering that, too. I haven't found anything about it, yet.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>WonderRandy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
any indication of how much room they'll have in "group housing"?</div>
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It's unlikely they would meet AWI or even CertifiedHumane minimum sq. footage requirements. To <i>not do so</i> is a recipe for disaster. If they're packed into a <b>barren</b> indoor environment at 16 sq.ft./mature adult sow, they <b>will</b> start to tear each other apart.
 

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I just recently found out about the pigs being in these horrible crates. And I saw pictures that haunt me daily. This does make me feel a little better about what I have learned. But does it really have to take that many years? Hopefully others will follow suit.
 
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