Domino’s Pizza shareholders recently rejected a proposal put forth by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for the pizza company to study ending the use of pork from suppliers who confine pregnant pigs in small gestation stalls (6.6 ft x 2.0 ft).
In response to Domino’s decision, Texas Farm Bureau publications director, Mike Barnett, posted a letter on the bureau blog praising Domino’s decision to oppose animal rights groups and not caving into HSUS demands.
Barnett closed his blog by thanking Domino’s “for not playing follow-the-leader in these fast-food follies” and ordering an extra-large pepperoni pizza.
No one with even a shred of compassion for the living would allow an animal to be endlessly caged in a six by two foot crate.
The crates are also being phased out in the European Union, and are already banned in Sweden, the UK, and will soon be banned in Denmark.
In the US, gestation crates have been banned in Florida since 2002, Arizona since 2006 and California since late 2008, and they are being phased out in Maine and Oregon. Although begrudgingly, Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the US, has also agreed to phase out the crates.
Barnett can whine all he wants like the sows he has so little regard for, but the tide has turned in favor of consumers and activists who have a healthy regard for the welfare of living creatures on factory farms.
In his blog, Barnett suggests we “let research and science determine what animal welfare standards should be, not an animal rights activist groups who misplay public sentiments not to achieve better animal welfare, but to end food-animal production.”
Prescott stressed that we’re a nation of animal lovers. We care very much about how animals are treated and that doesn’t stop on the farm, he said.
“American farmers have a long history of innovation and the Texas Farm Bureau and Pork Producers Council refusal to address these issues really sells farmers short. I think farmers want to farm. They don’t want to run a factory of widgets lined up in a row. They should take note of that and let farmers be farmers.”
Lauren Drewes Daniels with the Dallas Observer said Barnett criticized animals rights activists for conducting themselves as animal experts, pointing out that the experts are veterinarians, such as those in the American Veterinarian Medical Association.
“I think livestock growers working hand-in-hand with veterinarians do [qualify as experts],” he wrote
But as Daniels points out, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association is led by, you guessed it, veterinarians.
“Because of our long track record of making science-based decisions and reforms, HSUS is now the number one entity in the country which consumers trust on farm animal welfare issues, as reported by the meat industry’s own publication, Meatingplace,” Prescott said.
“Veterinarians followed at No. 2, and farmers operating large livestock operations ranked last on the list, which isn’t surprising considering the abusive way many of them keep animals.”
And phasing out gestation crates on factory farms can even save money. A 2007 study at Iowa State University found that it can save pork producers 11 percent on their costs not to confine animals.
“There are ways to address these issues that are good for farmers, consumers and the animals themselves,” Prescott said.