The Kroger Co., the nation’s largest traditional grocery store chain with 2,435 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two-dozen local banners, is encouraging its pork suppliers to move away from sow stalls.

The Cincinnati, OH-based company says that it has begun informing suppliers of the new policy statement regarding sow gestation stalls that it believes provides a more humane environment.

The company is encouraging its suppliers to accelerate this already-occurring transition in the Kroger supply chain. Kroger officials note this is a transition that may take many years to complete.

“Kroger has long been a leader in animal welfare. More than a decade ago, the company urged the industry to create meaningful welfare standards that are still used today. Kroger regularly audits its suppliers to ensure animals are raised, transported and processed as humanely as possible,” a company statement said Monday.

Kroger also operates 791 convenience stores, 348 fine jewelry stores, 1,090 supermarket fuel centers and 39 food processing plants in the United States.

For more information, visit www.kroger.com.