Riding the coattails of Smithfield Food's announcement to stop using gestation crates by 2017, Hormel, the makers of SPAM, have followed suit. Hormel plans to eliminate most gestation crates also by 2017.
Gestation crates are used to house pregnant pigs, and in several documented instances, are so small that the pig cannot move around.
Humane Society president and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, released the following statement in response to Hormel's move:
This is great news from Hormel. This decision brings us closer to the day when the cruel confinement of pigs in gestation crates will be a bygone era for the entire pork industry. We thank Hormel for making this decision and urge the company to also apply it to any contract pig breeders it may use. We also urge Hormel's competitors such as Tyson, Triumph, Prestage and Seaboard to stop lagging behind and get on the gestation-crate free pathway.
This announcement comes just days after undercover video of pig abuse in cramped gestation crates from another pork company, Seaboard Corporation, was released.
According to the Humane Society, Hormel has 54,000 breeding pigs at three facilities in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. Arizona and Colorado have both passed laws to ban gestation crates by the end of the 2012 and 2017, respectively, but Wyoming has no such law.
Regardless of what happens to the pigs, the processing of Spam could use some serious improvement. Check out this behind the scenes look.