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Target Inc. has pledged to work with its pork vendors toward the elimination of sow gestation crates by 2022.
“Animal welfare is an important issue to Target and to our guests and we are committed to the humane treatment of animals,” said a press release on Target’s website. “We believe that animals can and should be raised and cared for in environments that are clean, safe and free from cruelty, abuse or neglect.”
The Minneapolis-based retailer “recognizes this task will involve a large undertaking from our pork product vendors and we will partner closely with our vendors as they work through this transition.”
The Humane Society of the United States issued a statement applauding Target for the move.
“Target’s got gestation crates in its crosshairs and should be commended for working to improve conditions for pigs in its supply chain,” said Matthew Prescott, HSUS food policy director. “Americans simply don’t support the lifelong confinement of animals in cages so small they can’t even turn around, and it’s both an ethical decision and good business move for Target to recognize that.”
Costco, Safeway and Kroger are among retailers on board against the use of gestation crates, which keep sows confined during their four-month pregnancy. Pork producers Smithfield and Hormel have pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017, and Cargill is already 50 percent crate-free.