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Safeway Inc. revealed plans to shift its purchasing policies for pork to a system that favors more humane treatment of pigs with a gestation stall-free supply chain.
Gestation stalls have been criticized in recent years due to animal welfare concerns, and Safeway said it’s been working to address the issue. Over the last several years, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based chain said it's substantially increased the quantity of pork it buys from producers that have made commitments to decreasing gestation stalls in their breeding facilities.
“It is Safeway's goal to have a gestation stall-free supply chain," said Safeway’s VP of public affairs Brian Dowling. "With that in mind, the company is formulating plans to determine how it can reach that goal. Our company supports the efforts of our suppliers who have committed to reductions in their use of gestation stalls," added Dowling.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) supports the move. "Safeway's decision to move away from gestation crates is welcome and encouraging news," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. "Given the scope and quantity of pork products sold by Safeway, this announcement is an important step in addressing animal welfare in the company's supply chain."
Safeway's move is also supported by the positive steps several major pork producers have made in recent years to move away from gestation stalls. As well, McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, along with Compass Group, the nation's largest foodservice company, recently announced similar moves toward gestation stall-free supply chains.
Safeway operates 1,678 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011.