Pregnant pigs need room to move around, according to Bob Evans Farms and PETA. The Ohio-based restaurant chain issued a statement on Wednesday that they would “work with” pork suppliers to get rid of the controversial stalls or crates typically used to house pregnant pigs.
People for the Ethical Treatment of animals chastised Bob Evans Farms in 2009 for allegedly making such little progress in the reduction of swine suffering. PETA targeted multiple food companies during its farm animal welfare campaign.
Bob Evans Farms noted, in the release stemming from the company’s annual meeting, that lengthy conversations were held on the matter. Company official reportedly addressed the need for pregnant pigs to move around while inside the stalls with trade groups, customers, animal rights advocates, and farmers.
The Ohio Pork Producers Council also supports the rights of farmers to house pigs in a manner that provides for their best possible care. Council Vice President Dick Isler stated that many farmer keep pregnant pigs in individual maternity pens so more “precise care can be given. The individual sow pens also reportedly increase safety for both farm workers and the sows. Isler concluded that animal care has and always will be a top priority for Ohio pork farmers.
In 2009, Ohio was the first state to pass a constitutional amendment dealing with livestock care standards. The law mandates that pigs must have enough room to lay down and stand without hitting the sides or tops of their stalls. Gestation stalls become illegal in 2025.
A Bob Evans Farms internal Animal Well-Being Committee also played a role in the decision to support larger crates for pregnant pigs. PETA claimed that Bob Evans Farms purchased pork from suppliers that kept pregnant pigs inside gestation stalls or crates for months. The sow housing units were allegedly so small the animals couldn’t even turn around.
The popular restaurant chain began quite by accident. In 1953, Jewell and Bob Evans bought a farm that made sausage for area meat markets and restaurants. Bob Evan Farms Sausage was known by the “made by a farmer on the farm” promotional tag. The endeavor became successful quickly, and the sausage was soon sent by an entire fleet of trucks to approximately 1,800 locations.
Television ads for Bob Evans Farm Sausage told viewer to “come down and visit us” at the farm. The invitation was taken quite literally, and so many people started showing up on the Rio Grande farm that Bob and Jewell Evans opened an on-site restaurant in 1961. The Sausage Shop boasted all of six tables and four stools.
Visitors could sample the sausage and the take a farm tour. Today, family events at Bob Evans Farm attract thousands. The homestead now boasts a museum and a historical center. Wheat, hay, corn, and, sorghum are still grown on the property today.
What do you think about size requirements for the housing stalls for pregnant pigs?
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