Industry News | September 8, 2012

Jack in the Box to End Gestation Crates in Pork Supply

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Jack in the Box, Inc., has become the latest major food retailer to announce that it will eliminate controversial pig gestation crates from its pork supply chain.

The San Diego-based company operates and franchises more than 2,200 Jack in the Box locations and 576 Qdoba Mexican Grill locations.

“We have evaluated scientific literature and have consulted with our suppliers and animal-welfare experts on this issue,” says Jack in the Box, Inc., in its recently updated Animal Welfare Report.

“In 2012, we informed our pork suppliers of our goal to source all pork from supply systems in which pregnant sows are cared for in a group housing environment instead of gestation stalls,” it says. “We have begun discussing with our suppliers how they will complete such a transition by the end of 2022.”

Similar announcements made recently by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Oscar Mayer, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, and other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry, which has left most breeding pigs confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy.

These cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and designed to prevent them from turning around.

The animals are subsequently transferred into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate.

The confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers, and more.