Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment
Subjects: NPT, ENI, AVO

Walmart Canada Should Publicly Confirm Higher Welfare Plans for Mother Pigs

TORONTO, June 5, 2019 /CNW/ - Scared, in pain, stressed and isolated. That's how most mother pigs around the globe spend their lives. These female pigs (called sows) are used only as breeding machines and are forced to live in pregnancy cages (called gestation crates) most of their lives. These smart, social animals live in a space no bigger than an average sized fridge. They cannot even turn around.

Mother pigs (sows) are kept in barren conditions with no enrichment on a low welfare farm. The location is undisclosed to protect our relationship with the farmer. Credit Line: World Animal Protection (CNW Group/World Animal Protection)

It doesn't have to be this way. Grocery retailers have the power and influence to change this, especially  giants like Walmart.  Increasingly, customers expect companies to ensure the pigs that supply the pork in their stores are treated well.

In the recently released Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report, which ranks global food companies annually on their farm animal welfare policies, Walmart fell one tier from the previous year's ranking.  The report also found that Walmart needs to do more to effectively implement farm animal welfare across its global operations. 

This week, all eyes are on Walmart's headquarters as it holds its annual general meeting in Arkansas, United States. World Animal Protection is using this opportunity to urge Walmart to do what's right and get pigs out of cages. Consumers worldwide, including in Canada are  calling for better treatment of pigs.  

A recent public opinion poll, conducted for World Animal Protection by Flood Research, found that globally seven out of ten people (72%) believe that the way factory farmed pigs are kept is 'upsetting', 'wrong' and 'shocking'.

Canadians specifically also have concerns, that same study showed that 92% of Canadians believe it is important that pigs are reared in conditions with high welfare standards.

"Consumers are speaking up for pigs and Walmart, as the largest retailer in the world, has an opportunity to be a leader in animal welfare and use their power and influence for positive change. Keeping pigs in cages is cruel and unacceptable. These animals deserve a life beyond suffering," says Lynn Kavanagh, Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection Canada.

In Canada, Walmart has promised to phase out gestation crates by 2022 but has yet to reiterate that commitment on their website, leaving the Canadian public to wonder if they are on track to improving the lives of pigs in their supply chain or if they are going back on their promise.

In 2013, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), an industry-funded association, which includes major grocery brands like Walmart, Loblaw and Sobeys, made a commitment to eliminate the crates from their supply chain and only source fresh pork products from mother pigs who were raised in group and pen housing by the end of 2022. Unlike Walmart, Sobeys and Loblaw last year reiterated their plans to ending gestation crates in their pork supply.

World Animal Protection has been asking Walmart Canada to reaffirm its commitment and is also continuing to ask the public to sign their petition to encourage Walmart Canada to be a leader in raising pigs right.  So far, 51,785 people have signed the petition.

By 2020, World Animal Protection aims to improve the lives of 175 million pigs every year, by reducing the most intense suffering inflicted in the production system through confined housing and other poor conditions. Walmart can and should be a part of this change.

About World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection (formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals) has moved the world to protect animals for the last 50 years. World Animal Protection works to give animals a better life. Its activities include working with companies to ensure high standards of welfare for the animals in their care, working with governments and other stakeholders to prevent wild animals being cruelly traded, trapped or killed, and saving the lives of animals and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them in disaster situations. More information on World Animal Protection can be found at: worldanimalprotection.ca

SOURCE World Animal Protection

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