Animal rights group demands Walmart end business with factory farms using gestation crates listen06/11/13 Roberto Roldan
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In 2002, Florida passed a law banning the use of gestation crates, but Walmart still sources itâ€™s pork from out of state suppliers who cage pigs. Tuesday morning the animal rights group Mercy For Animals demanded Walmart use their corporate influence to put an end to the controversial practice outside a store on North Dale Mabry Highway.
Mercy For Animals said the campaign against Walmart started after video footage last year showed pigs at farms that supply Walmart confining pregnant pigs to fly-infested crates and their piglets being slammed head-first into the ground. Jeni Haines, national campaign coordinator for Mercy For Animals, or MFA, said the gestation crates on factory farms constitute â€œblatant animal abuse.â€
â€œGestation crates are tiny metal crates that are barely larger than the pigs bodies that keep pigs confined to a small concrete area for most of their lives. Pigs bodies are just as large as the spaces that theyâ€™re in. So, pressure sores, open wounds, open lesions, are very things that happen to these pigs bodies while they are kept in these crates.â€
With a 10-foot tall inflatable pig being crammed into a gestation crate as their backdrop, about a dozen members from the group urged Walmart to require itâ€™s pork suppliers to phase out their use of gestation crates. Lisa Hines, who focuses on campaigns against Walmart for MFA, said that while Walmartâ€™s Canadian arm has already required their suppliers to phase out the practice, the American stores continue to sell meat from these suppliers.
â€œEven in Florida, the citizens have decided to pass a law. So, itâ€™s obvious that this is against the moral beliefs of most companies and most people, but Walmart is still selling pork from these producers. We are calling for corporate responsibility and we are trying to ask them to keep up with our standards and phase this out, because they are one of the last markets that is buying up this gestation crate pork.â€
Haines said Walmart is one of the only large corporations who continue to support these practices.
â€œWalmart is the last major hold-out out of major food suppliers in the United States to continue using these practices. Even companies like Burger King, McDonaldâ€™s Costco, Kroger, and Safeway have recognized the inherent cruelty of gestation crates and started demanding that their pork suppliers find alternative methods for raising pigs.â€
Continuous use of gestation crates to confine pigs is banned in 9 U.S. states. The European Union also passed a similar ban which took effect on January 1.
Walmart did not respond to a request for interview by air time.
In other local Walmart news, labor activists are gathering at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Walmart on Gunn Highway. They are supporting workers who walked off the job to demand better conditions.