Burger King Corp. announced Wednesday that it will begin purchasing pork only from suppliers with documented plans to end their use of gestation stalls for breeding pigs. Burger King states that it will “use its purchasing power to ensure the appropriate and proper treatment of animals.”
However, the nation’s leading veterinary organizations recognize the use of gestation stalls as an appropriate means for protecting the health and welfare of individual sows, according to a news release from the National Pork Board.
“I have raised pigs indoors and out, in pens, and in stalls during my 40-plus years growing pigs,” says Everett Forkner, president of the National Pork Board and a farmer from Richards, MO. “How I have raised pigs has changed as our industry has found new ways to improve the health and welfare of our animals. Decisions on how to care for our animals are made by farmers and veterinarians working together to provide the best care for each animal on our farms.”
The National Pork Board maintains the position, similar to the positions taken by the American Veterinary Medicine Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, that there are numerous ways, including sow gestation stalls, to provide proper care for sows. Each housing system, including gestation stalls, open pens, free-access stalls and pastures, has welfare advantages and disadvantages that must be considered by an individual farmer.