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Shareholder Support for Cracker Barrel Eliminating Gestation Crates

PHOTO: Shareholders of Cracker Barrel have voted in support of a resolution commending the restaurant chain for its plan to eliminate the use of gestation crates in its pork supply chain. Photo credit: Eli Christman
PHOTO: Shareholders of Cracker Barrel have voted in support of a resolution commending the restaurant chain for its plan to eliminate the use of gestation crates in its pork supply chain. Photo credit: Eli Christman
November 20, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa - The recent decision by Cracker Barrel restaurants to remove gestation crates from its pork supply chain is earning praise from its shareholders.

At Cracker Barrel's annual meeting, shareholders voted in favor of a resolution supporting the move away from the small cages, which Matthew Prescott, food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States, said virtually immobilize breeding pigs for months on end.

"It's further evidence that addressing these types of issues for food companies is an imperative and that it adds value to the company's bottom line," Prescott said. "With so many consumers now concerned about things like food safety and their health and animal welfare, it becomes a very important part of any business platform to proactively address these issues like Cracker Barrel has done."

Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel has more than 600 restaurants across 40 states.

Prescott said Cracker Barrel is just the latest to pledge to end the use of gestation crates in its pork supply chains, joining nearly 60 other major food companies.

"McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Denny's, Oscar Mayer, Safeway – virtually every major food company in the country has, in the last few years, said, 'These gestation crates, they've got to go. Our customers don't want them. We don't want them. They're no good for pigs.' And many pork farmers are meeting that demand by doing exactly that," Prescott said.

Among the holdouts is Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest meat producers. Tyson says gestation stalls are acceptable if managed properly, and it prefers to let its independent producers decide how best to run their operations.

Iowa is the nation's top pork-producing state.

More information on Cracker Barrel shareholders' vote on Proposal 4, regarding animal welfare, is online at crackerbarrel.tekgroupweb.com.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA