07/24/2012 01:50 pm ET

Sysco Pledges To Stop Using Gestation Crates For Pork Products

Sysco, the world's largest broadline food distributor, is the latest to join the ranks of other restaurant chains and organizations that have pledged to stop using pork from distributors who use gestation crates.

In a release posted online Monday, the Humane Society applauded the move. It also included a statement from Sysco:

Sysco takes its role as a responsible corporate citizen in the food supply chain seriously. We use science-based standards for animal welfare and work diligently with our suppliers to ensure humane treatment of animals. We also listen closely to our customers desires. Although there are many ways to house sows, several customers and suppliers have expressed their desire to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains.

Sysco went on to promise it would work with its suppliers to end the use of gestation crates. A timeline is still to be determined.

The issue of gestation crates has inspired much controversy and debate in the last few months, with high profile companies like McDonald's and Burger King disavowing them. The crates are commonly used to confine pregnant pigs, but are so small that the animal is unable to move. A pig will spend its entire pregnancy in the crate. Since they are usually re-impregnated immediately after giving birth, some animals will spend their entire lives in a such a living condition.

Sysco is a huge get for the movement to ban gestation crates. It raked in $40 billion in sales last year and serves 400,000 customers worldwide.

See other companies that have promised to stop using gestation crates in the gallery below.