Animal rights group demands Walmart end business with factory farms using gestation crates

06/11/13 Roberto Roldan
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In 2002, Florida passed a law banning the use of gestation crates, but Walmart still sources it’s pork from out of state suppliers who cage pigs. Tuesday morning the animal rights group Mercy For Animals demanded Walmart use their corporate influence to put an end to the controversial practice outside a store on North Dale Mabry Highway.

Mercy For Animals said the campaign against Walmart started after video footage last year showed pigs at farms that supply Walmart confining pregnant pigs to fly-infested crates and their piglets being slammed head-first into the ground. Jeni Haines, national campaign coordinator for Mercy For Animals, or MFA, said the gestation crates on factory farms constitute “blatant animal abuse.”

“Gestation crates are tiny metal crates that are barely larger than the pigs bodies that keep pigs confined to a small concrete area for most of their lives. Pigs bodies are just as large as the spaces that they’re in. So, pressure sores, open wounds, open lesions, are very things that happen to these pigs bodies while they are kept in these crates.”

With a 10-foot tall inflatable pig being crammed into a gestation crate as their backdrop, about a dozen members from the group urged Walmart to require it’s pork suppliers to phase out their use of gestation crates. Lisa Hines, who focuses on campaigns against Walmart for MFA, said that while Walmart’s Canadian arm has already required their suppliers to phase out the practice, the American stores continue to sell meat from these suppliers.

“Even in Florida, the citizens have decided to pass a law. So, it’s obvious that this is against the moral beliefs of most companies and most people, but Walmart is still selling pork from these producers. We are calling for corporate responsibility and we are trying to ask them to keep up with our standards and phase this out, because they are one of the last markets that is buying up this gestation crate pork.”

Haines said Walmart is one of the only large corporations who continue to support these practices.

“Walmart is the last major hold-out out of major food suppliers in the United States to continue using these practices. Even companies like Burger King, McDonald’s Costco, Kroger, and Safeway have recognized the inherent cruelty of gestation crates and started demanding that their pork suppliers find alternative methods for raising pigs.”

Continuous use of gestation crates to confine pigs is banned in 9 U.S. states. The European Union also passed a similar ban which took effect on January 1.

Walmart did not respond to a request for interview by air time.

In other local Walmart news, labor activists are gathering at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Walmart on Gunn Highway. They are supporting workers who walked off the job to demand better conditions.

More information on MFA's Walmart Cruelty campaign.

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Copy of a letter sent to Wal-Mart corporate July/2013 > I heard about the gestation crate issue about 6 months ago. I am a 60 year old woman and am not naive to the fact that we are a meat loving nation with a big population. That being said, I cannot believe the cruelty that goes on in pork production. As a human being, with ANY type of compassion, one cannot help but be sickened by this cruel, cruel practice. It was heartening to hear major players in the retail business are demanding pork suppliers to phase out this practice. It does not surprise me that Wal-mart has not required this. How can anyone, that has a heart, allow this to go on? > > I want you to know, in my small way I am spreading the word - in the past few months, I have made converts of people that shop at your store. One woman who saw the video today said she is going to shop online for the items she usually gets cheaper at Wal-mart. Her sister has been trying to keep her from shopping at Wal mart for years, but today she said she saw the 'light'. A woman I talked to last week was so sickened, she said she is going to notify every friend she has and will try to start a campaign. I am a flight attendant, and fly with different groups of people every trip. I have gotten the word out to many, many people, and will not quit until this horrible practice is stopped. > > Let me ask you this - are you concerned ONLY with making money at the risk of giving up your humanity???? Please have a change of heart and require your pork suppliers to phase out gestation crates. If that doesn't happen, hopefully, one day, your inhumane business practices will become so well known, that shopping at wal-mart will become taboo. Those of us who care can only hope. > >