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Papa John's Pledges To Eliminate Gestation Crates From Pork Supply

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FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2010 file photo provided by The Humane Society of the United States, female breeding pigs are in gestation crates at a Virginia factory farm owned by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods in Waverly, Va. McDonald's Corp. said Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to provide plans by May to phase out the use of stalls that confine pregnant sows. Smithfield Foods had already announced plans to phase out the stalls. (AP Photo/The Humane Society of the | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Papa John's has pledged to stop raising sows in gestation crates, the Humane Society announced on Thursday.

Gestation crates confine pregnant sows to cages small enough that they cannot turn around in. In recent years, the practice has been criticized by animal welfare advocates. As a result, several major food companies including Tim Horton's, McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's have worked with their pork suppliers to create a timeline to end the practice.

Papa John's, which has more than 4,000 stores, features pork in a variety of toppings such as pepperoni and sausage. The company wrote on its website:

We support the industry move away from traditional gestation crates and are encouraging our suppliers to explore alternative pregnant sow housing options. Our goal is to have significant movement to alternative housing by 2022, and we will seek suppliers who adopt a plan to implement this practice.

The move to end gestation crates will require a significant overhaul of the pork industry. For more on these challenges, watch a fascinating TEDx talk here. And, for a comprehensive look at companies' gestation crate elimination plans, click here [pdf].

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