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by Lacy Gray, click here for bio
Program: Food Forethought
Date: June 14, 12
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Numerous retailers and restaurant chains have announced lately they will use only pork from operations that are gestation stall free. Crumbling under pressure from food activists such as the HSUS, these retailers may find they’re cutting their noses off to spite their faces. It is not as easy as making an announcement one day, and having an entire supply chain meet the demands the next. The National Pork Producers Council commissioned a survey of larger pork operations because of all the current uproar, and it showed only seventeen percent of sows currently spend part of gestation time in open pens. With roughly 70 thousand hog farms in the nation even over the next couple of years that percentage will probably only raise to around 25 percent due to the complexities and costs of making such changes. What happens in the meantime? If what happened in the U.K. under similar circumstances is any indication, numerous smaller hog operations will go out of business due to the high costs of new housing and changing management systems, and with that pork prices could go through the roof. Everybody is talking about animal welfare, but are they prepared to pay for it?
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