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The Kroger Co. is urging its pork suppliers to step up their efforts to find an alternative to gestation crates for housing pregnant sows.
Kroger reports that, over the past few months, it has reviewed the opinions of animal welfare experts and other experts regarding the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows and has concluded that there are many ways to humanely house sows. "Kroger believes that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and that the pork industry should work toward gestation crate-free housing for pregnant sows," the grocer announced.
The company is encouraging its suppliers to accelerate this already-occurring transition, expected to take several years, in its supply chain.
A self-described leader in animal welfare, Kroger has urged the creation of "meaningful animal welfare standards" more than a decade ago. Kroger regularly audits its suppliers to ensure animals are raised, transported and processed as humanely as possible.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,435 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.