Safeway Looks to Update Pork Sourcing Standards

PLEASANTON, Calif. — In a joint statement on Monday with the Humane Society of the United States, Safeway [4] said it will start to develop a plan to source pork entirely from suppliers who don’t use gestation stalls for sows

“It is Safeway’s goal to have a gestation stall-free supply chain,” said Safeway Vice President of Public Affairs Brian Dowling in a release. “With that in mind, the company is formulating plans to determine how it can reach that goal.”

Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle called Safeway’s decision “welcome and encouraging news.”

“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,” Pacelle said in the release.

While Dowling couldn’t give SN a percentage of the pork that Safeway currently sources from suppliers who don’t use gestation stalls, he said it was a growing percentage.

“Over the last several years, we as a company have substantially increased the quality of pork we buy from producers that have made commitments to decrease gestation stalls in the breading facilities, and so we’ve been at this for a while,” he told SN.

Safeway has not yet put a target date on when the retailer would be moving to gestation stall-free sourcing, Dowling said.

“We haven’t put a specific year on it. Our intention is to more forward with this.”

Safeway joins Burger King, McDonald’s and Compass Group in announcing plans to phase out the use of gestation crates in the supply chain.

Nathan Runkle, executive director from the animals rights organization Mercy for Animals, said in a written statement that he was "cautiously optimistic" about Safeway's plans.

“By speaking out against these inherently cruel crates, Safeway is taking a positive step forward in improving animal welfare,” he said. “We hope this announcement is more than PR hogwash and that Safeway acts quickly to removethese cruel confinement systems from its supply chain to spare millions of animals horrific misery and suffering.”

Runkle said that Mercy for Animals conducted an undercover investigation last year at a pork supplier for Safeway, Iowa Select Farms, and documented “thousands of mother pigs forced to live inside narrow metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies.”