Bruegger’s Bagels announced it will eliminate gestation crates—cages used to confine breeding pigs—from its pork supply chain, becoming the latest in a growing list of major food companies to address this issue.
Bruegger’s Bagels has more than 300 locations in 25 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.
“Bruegger’s Bagels cares deeply about creating a more humane and sustainable world,” says David Austin, Bruegger’s president. “To that end, we’re proud to announce that we’re working with our pork suppliers to eliminate gestation crates within our supply chain, and we recognize it could take up until 2022 to achieve this goal.”
Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for the Human Society of the United States (HSUS), says, “We applaud Bruegger’s Bagels for its work to improve the lives of pigs in the pork industry. This announcement reaffirms that gestation crates have no place in the pork industry’s future.”
The similar announcements made recently by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Oscar Mayer and other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that leaves 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. The animals are subsequently transferred into another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate.
This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others.