Ethical Treatment of Animals: Year in Review

February 22, 2012

Dozens of new corporate policies to improve farm animal welfare were enacted in 2011. The Lempert Report applauds these efforts. Here's a review of last year's accomplishments.

The ethical treatment of animals is something the Lempert Report wholeheartedly supports, and the recent news regarding McDonald’s decision for a gestation crate-free supply chain, is a major step in the nation’s movement towards knowing where our food comes from, and for the humane treatment of animals. (On a side note, McDonald’s buys one percent of the pork sold in the US.) The food world is changing in terms of how we think about where our food is coming from, which includes how the animals were treated before they or their products arrive in our stores, to our manufacturing plants, and onto our plates. 

Sourcing ethically treated animals and their products has come a long way in the food industry and here is a selection of what has happened in the past year from our friends at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS):

HSUS and the United Egg Producers reached an agreement to jointly lobby for federal regulations on the treatment of all laying hens.

Smithfield Foods, the nation’s largest pork producer, recommitted to its 2017 phase-out of gestation crates on company-owned farms, due to pressure from the HSUS.

Dozens of new corporate policies to improve farm animal welfare were enacted in 2011 including Unilever (100 percent cage-free eggs on all products), Hyatt Hotels (100 percent cage-free shell eggs), General Mills (one million cage-free eggs), US Army (all cage-free eggs at Fort Lee, Va., base), McDonald’s (12 million cage-free eggs per year), ConAgra (one million cage-free eggs), Marriott (22 locations all cage-free shell eggs), and more.

2011 also saw the final enactment of standards we’ve been seeking in Ohio since 2010 (when we reached an agreement  with the Ohio Farm Bureau to push for these standards). The new law include phase-outs of veal crates, gestation crates, tail-docking of dairy cows, and a moratorium on new battery cage confinement facilities.

Hormel Foods announces a policy to end gestation crate use in its company-owned farms by 2017.

The Lempert Report applauds the efforts of the Humane Society of the United States as well as the many companies (and those not mentioned above) that are committed to animal welfare.