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WFM Touts Pork Sourcing Standards

AUSTIN, Texas — In the midst of media attention for major restaurants requiring pork suppliers to eliminate gestation crates, Whole Foods Market doesn’t want consumers to forget that its suppliers have been gestation-crate-free since 2003.

“While it’s good to see more companies finally jumping on the bandwagon, it can’t happen soon enough, in our opinion!” Whole Foods writes in a recent blog post, noting that several large companies have committed to phasing out crates by 2017.

This week Wendy’s joined a growing number of retailers and food service companies — including McDonald’s, Bon Appetit Management Company, and Compass Group — that have recently committed to source only from suppliers who don’t use gestation crates.

In Whole Foods’ blog post, the retailer said it believed that confinement in gestation and farrow crates is bad for sows’ mental and physical health, and reminded customers about Whole Foods’ five-step animal rating program. The retailer also linked to a blog post outlining how the five steps apply to pigs.

In related animal welfare news, in certain states animal activist groups may lose their ability to take undercover footage from inside slaughterhouses to expose abuse of livestock. This week Utah follows Iowa as the second state to pass an “ag-gag” bill that makes it illegal to take photographs and record video or audio recordings in slaughterhouses without the owner’s consent. The updated Utah law also makes it illegal for someone to get access to facilities “by false pretenses for the purpose of committing an act not authorized by the owner of the animal facility.”

According to Food Safety News, other state legislatures looking at possibly adopting these “ag-gag” laws in 2012 “are scheduled to [adjourn] in the next month or so.”

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