McDonald’s USA has set a goal to obtain all pork for its U.S. business from producers that do not use gestation stalls by the end of 2022, according to an announcement released yesterday. As an interim step, by 2017 McDonald’s will seek to source pork for its U.S. business only from producers who share its commitment to phase out gestation stalls.

According to the company, in order to achieve this, McDonald’s will work with producers and suppliers to develop traceability systems that will verify pork sourced from non-gestation stall supply chains and will assess how to best support producers that are moving away from gestation stalls.

“We value our relationship with our suppliers, and our shared commitment to animal welfare,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management. “Our approach seeks to build on the work already in place, and we are also sensitive to the needs of the smaller, independent pork producers in phasing out of gestation stalls.”

“This change is complex and will require additional resources. The ten-year timeline that McDonald’s has outlined is necessary to research and identify better housing alternatives and ensure proper training of employees,” said Temple Grandin, animal welfare scientist at Colorado State University and member of McDonald’s Animal Welfare Council. “This is really good forward thinking, and I commend McDonald’s for doing it.”

Ed Pajor, professor of animal welfare, University of Calgary and member of McDonald’s Animal Welfare Council, said, “Any system will have animal welfare concerns, but I see real opportunity for innovation and better alternatives. This plan provides a ten-year window for McDonald’s producers and suppliers to develop practical and sustainable implementation steps to achieve the phase out of sow gestation stalls.”

In February, McDonald’s USA announced its commitment to work with its pork suppliers to assess the current state of sow housing and to develop next steps for gestation stall phase out. McDonald’s indicated plans to continue working with its supplier network and subject matter experts to refine and implement this plan.

Read more National Hog Farmer coverage about the gestation stall issue in our "Hot Topics" section here.