Commentary: Playing chicken with pork
Rick Berman is the Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit coalitionsupported by restaurants, food companies and consumers to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.
There’s a lot of concern among pork producers about what’s going on with retailers and restaurants. A handful, including brands like McDonald’s, have made demands that their suppliers have a supply chain free of gestation stalls in the next decade.
Demand generally drives supply, but here’s a situation in which the vast majority of supply producers don’t have an interest in responding. Supply, in other words, is at odds with demand.
Essentially, producers and retailers are playing chicken. So who will flinch?
If the pork industry stands together, it will prevail. There are several reasons. MORE
How Hog Farmers
Reduced Their Carbon Footprint:
There are many different types
of acceptable housing types in use by U.S. hog farmers for housing
gestating sows. These housing types usually fit in one of two categories:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) have reviewed existing scientific literature on sow housing and have published position statements that concluded that both types of housing types have advantages and disadvantages.
There are many factors that contribute to the success of a particular type of housing system. Studies have concluded the success of housing systems may be dependent in great measure to the caretaker's husbandry skills.
The individual housing category includes the individual stall system. In this system, sows are housed in a structure large enough for one sow. There are variations in stall designs.
Some of the advantages of individual housing include:
Some of the disadvantages of individual housing include:
In the other housing category, sows are housed in groups. Group sizes may range from five sows per pen up to more than 100 sows per pen. Free access stalls, trickle feeding, electronic sow feeding stations and deep bedded systems are just a few of the many different variations in group housing systems in use.
Some of the advantages of group housing include:
Some of the potential disadvantages of group housing include:
The AVMA and AASV have concluded that regardless of the type of housing system in use, the system should: