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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 21, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – 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.

Matthew Prescott, food policy director with the Humane Society of the United States, stresses the cages virtually immobilize breeding pigs for months on end.

"It's just 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,” he says. “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."

Cracker Barrel is based in Tennessee, and has more than 600 restaurants across 40 states, including 16 in Michigan.

Prescott says 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,” he points out. “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."

Among the holdouts is Tyson Foods, one of the world's largest meat producers.

Tyson says the gestation stalls are acceptable if managed properly, and it prefers to let its independent producers decide how best to run their operations.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI