Friday, March 23, 2012

Large Companies Switching to Open Pig Pens

According to an article in the Friday, March 23, 2012 Gazette, several large companies are moving toward eliminating gestation pens. Pork suppliers to McDonald's Corporation are required to switch to open pens. Smithfield Foods has a plan in place to eliminate all gestation pens by 2017.

This is good news and bad news for consumers. The good news is that pregnant sows will no longer be confined to narrow cages where they have no room to move. Open pens mean that they will be able to move freely. The bad news is that open feedlot farming means fewer pigs and costs may be higher.

This is the first step toward returning to humane, sustainable hog farming. Hopefully, confinement barns are next.


  1. Maybe those pork producers knew that lots of eastern Iowans would be reading Righteous Porkchop, so they decided to make changes :-)

  2. I was glad to read this article on Friday! also glad that you posted it. Slow progress is still progress ...