Archived Story

Hormel confinement stats questioned

Published 12:50pm Saturday, August 20, 2011

AUSTIN — A shareholder is asking Hormel Foods Inc. to disclose sow confinement statistics.

The Humane Society of the United States submitted a shareholder resolution Wednesday asking Hormel to disclose to shareholders how many breeding pigs are confined in gestation crates for its products, and any progress the company has made moving toward more humane housing methods.

“Consumers don’t support lifelong confinement of farm animals in tiny crates,” said Josh Balk, director of corporate policy for The HSUS’ farm animal protection division. “Hormel appears to be behind the times on this issue, and shareholders deserve to understand what the company is — or isn’t — doing to correct its support for this unnecessary and extreme cruelty.”

The Humane Society of the U.S. said confining pigs to gestation crates “virtually immobilizes breeding sows for most of their lives.”

Julie Craven, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel, said in an e-mail that the company is continually looking into ways to care for the pigs.

“On a regular basis, Hormel Foods studies the best industry practices for sow housing, which includes consulting with noted experts within the field of animal care,” Craven wrote. “In 2012, Hormel Foods will be moving to group sow housing in the state of Arizona, which will give us a first-hand opportunity to learn more about this sow housing option. We will then evaluate and consider implementing group sow housing at other company-owned farm operations.”