ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. and Super Kmart have asked their pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation crates.
“Here at Costco we are encouraging you to make this transition: we want all of the hogs throughout our pork supply chain to be housed in groups with access to safety zones and expect this transition to be accomplished no later than 2022,” Costco Executive Vice President of Merchandising Doug Schutt wrote in a letter to suppliers.
This move follows the advocacy group Mercy for Animals’ undercover investigation of Christensen Farms’ Hanska, Minn., facility showing footage of poor conditions for sows and piglets. Kmart and Costco sourced pork from this supplier, according to MFA.
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Costco Vice President of Food Safety Craig Wilson told the Associated Press that Costco had already been working on the gestation crate issue and the timing of the announcement was a coincidence.
Wal-Mart Stores also sources pork from Christensen Farms, and MFA has launched a campaign against the retailer. On the website www.walmartcruelty.com MFA hosts footage from the facility and a petition asking the retailer to change its animal welfare guidelines.
In a statement, Wal-Mart spokesperson Deisha Galberth Barnett said: “We currently offer gestation-crate-free pork products in a number of stores across the U.S.,” and noted the retailer is working to increase that number. “We believe in offering our customers a choice.”
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