Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal
Last week, the upscale casual restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, announced plans to switch to a gestation crate-free pork supply.
In a statement to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Cheesecake Factory said, “We have already taken steps to engage our pork suppliers to gain an understanding of their plans for transitioning away from the use of gestation crates and their timeline for doing so…We are currently working with them to develop plans to eliminate gestation crates from our pork supply chain by a 2022 target date.”
The restuarant—which operates more than 170 full-service restaurants—has been added to the HSUS list of 30 major food companies that plan to eliminate controversial gestation crates from their pork suppliers.
According to The Cheesecake Factory’s website, the company also sources chicken with no added hormones and Certified Angus Beef.
The HSUS’s corporate policy director of farm animal protection, Josh Balk, stated, “We applaud The Cheesecake Factory for tackling one of the most serious farm animal welfare problems as part of the company’s commitment to sustainability.”
“Cheesecake Factory’s commitment to eliminate gestation crates is further indication these cages have no future in the pork industry,” he continued.
The Cheesecake Factory is following in the footsteps of other leading food companies such as Oscar Mayer, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, and Kroger. These big brands have helped reverse a 30-year trend in the pork industry that tightly confines breeding pigs into gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy.
These tiny cages are designed to prevent the pregnant pigs from even turning around. Once the animal is ready to give birth, she is transferred to another crate. After giving birth, she is impregnated once again, only to be thrown back into another gestation crate. This inhumane process persists rather cyclically and virtually immobilizes the pigs for life.
Nine U.S. states have passed laws to ban pig gestation crates.
Animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Dr. Temple Grandin, states, “Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life.” Grandin further states, “We’ve got to treat animals right, and the gestation stalls have got to go.”