Target: Robert Edwards, Safeway CEO
Goal: Commend Safeway for requiring producers to stop using gestation crates for sows
Safeway, a major grocery chain, is now requiring its pork producers to use alternatives to gestation crates for sows. Gestation crates are incredibly debilitating and cruel, forcing sows to live life without the ability to even turn around. Many major companies are moving away from using gestation crates; this trend must continue, and most likely will, as consumers become more aware of animal cruelty issues.
Suppliers have until the end of 2014 to come up with a new, more humane plan of how and where they will keep pigs. Business with Safeway is incredibly lucrative, in which case most suppliers will comply with these new guidelines. This is a positive step for animal rights: awareness of how animals raised for food are treated will only continue, causing consumers to demand more humane treatment of the animals.
Gestation crates are narrow, long stalls that sows live in for the majority of their lives. Their intended purpose is to keep pigs from fighting with other pigs, or crushing their piglets, though many animal rights activists are defensively quick to lend knowledge of pig behavior: pigs that are allowed freedom and happiness do not show signs of aggression, nor do they squash their young. These are traits of pigs that are under intense stress, and significantly unhappy. If pigs raised for food were allowed to exhibit natural behaviors they would be much easier to keep. Costs would surely decrease for suppliers; all that is needed is room to roam and no crates.
Safeway is on the right path. The fight for animal rights is nowhere near its end; in fact, it is still in the beginning stages. One day there will be no need for these operations, when people look back at eating animals as an archaic form of existence. Until then, we must push corporations to adopt cruelty-free practices, one step at a time.
Dear Robert Edwards,
Recently you demanded that by the end of 2014 your pork suppliers must not be utilizing gestation crates for their sows. This is an incredible step in animal rights, and I applaud your decision.
Pigs are incredibly intelligent animals, with distinct personalities, friends and a sense of humor. They are a joy to be around, and I am happy to know that sows will no longer be reduced to living in gestation crates. I urge that you help your suppliers research much more humane methods of keeping pigs, in order for them to make the best decisions possible for the animals. It is my hope that Safeway will one day be a leader in humane animal welfare standards.
Please consider programs such as the one Whole Foods Market employs: a Five Step Animal Welfare Rating. This will ensure that the animal parts that Safeway purchases come from animals that were raised with respect and minimal stress. Animals raised for consumption deserve a fulfilling life prior to slaughter, in the very least.
Thank you for your growing dedication to animal welfare.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Maqi via Wikimedia Commons