CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 8, 2012)—Compass Group, the world's largest food and support services company, will eliminate all pork that comes from animals bred using gestation crates in its US supply chain by 2017.
This announcement follows on the heels of Bon Appetit Management Company's sweeping commitment to animal welfare, announced February 21. Bon Appetit, long recognized for its pioneering efforts toward a more sustainable food supply, is one of the companies in Compass Group's portfolio.
Animal rights advocates have singled out the crates, known as sow stalls, as inhumane, and several states have moved to ban or restrict their use not only in pork production, but also in the production of eggs and veal.
At a little more than 2 feet by 7 feet, sow stalls are too small for a pregnant pig to turn around. Being confined in a stationary position for the four months of an average pregnancy leads to a variety of health problems, including urinary tract infections, weakened bone structures, overgrown hooves and mental stress, according to animal rights advocates.
About 60 to 70 percent of the more than five million breeding sows in the United States are kept in the crates. Several large suppliers have already begun reducing their use of the crates, but a large portion of the pork supply still comes from pigs born from sows raised in crates.
"Animal welfare is an important issue to our clients, our guests and our company," said Steve Sweeney, CEO of Chartwells, which provides dining services to schools and higher education, speaking on behalf of Compass Group. "Encouraged by Bon Appetit's efforts, we are proud to be the first large foodservice company to make this commitment." Chartwells provides foodservice at more than 225 colleges and universities, and 550 school districts.
Compass Group runs dining operations at more than 10,000 schools, colleges and universities, corporations, hospitals and senior living centers, sports and entertainment venues and cultural institutions across the country, and purchases 38 million pounds of pork annually.