From Marcia Fulton
I hope you read the recent article in the Des Moines Register (Metro 1/6/13) regarding Smithfield Foods Inc., the nation’s largest hog producer, that has completed its decision to move 38 percent of Smithfield’s sows out of gestation stalls and into group housing systems. It is a slow process which they began in 2007 and accomplished by the end of 2012. The article further stated that it remains on track to finish its conversion to group housing by 2017.
Do not believe that you do not have input into a company’s business decisions as the article stated it was a business decision “to convert to group housing for pregnant sows on all company-owned U.S. Farms based on input from it’s customers.” Whole Foods and Chipotle Mexican Restaurant chains have quit using pork from confinement operations. Groceries and restaurants have announced plans to phase out purchases of pork from operations known to use gestation crates. One of those Chipotle Mexican Restaurants were buying from both free range and sow confinement farms found that their meals with pork from free range hogs outsold the later. After further comparative testing “why,” I was told the customers said the meat was better tasting leading to the company deciding to discontinue the use of confinement hogs. I actually saw a posted sign in one of their Colorado locations stating the change. If government officials won’t listen, companies will. Encourage and support this change. Let those business know you appreciate it when they make these changes.
Since my return to Creston seven years ago, I continue to hear how we are still paying for bad county decisions (bean plant as one) as justification for our high taxes. Let’s not add to that when the country moves to more humane treatment of our foods, and we end up paying to clean up abandoned confinements.