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Denny's, an American diner-style restaurant chain known for always being open, promised to end the use of crates for mother pigs in 2012. Instead of fulfilling its commitment, Denny’s has reported little progress in removing and reducing gestation crates from their supply chain, and now refuses to be transparent about further plans to stop forcing mother pigs to be locked in crates that are barely bigger than their own bodies.
Confining a sow to a gestation crate for an entire pregnancy is illegal in 11 U.S. states, as well as the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Sweden, and is being phased out in Canada and Brazil.
Over 60 major companies, including Denny’s competitors, have eliminated or are in process of eliminating the use of gestation crates. It's time for Denny's to do the same.
In the US pig industry, a majority of the 6 million female pigs are confined in a gestation crate. These metal crates where mother pigs are often kept for the majority of their pregnancies for up to 4 months. After their piglets are weaned and taken away from them, they are forced into these crates again to repeat the painful cycle.
These 7-by-2-foot crates take a large physical and mental toll on the animals. In these crates, pigs are unable to walk, turn around, or even stand comfortably. Beneath them are hard floors with slats for the urine and feces to fall through before collecting in giant outdoor waste lagoons. Professor Ian Duncan, a scholar of animal welfare at the University of Guelph, has described it as “one of the cruelest forms of confinement devised by humankind.”
Scientific research shows that gestation crates cause physical and psychological suffering to sows, including lameness due to weak bones and muscles, abrasion injuries, cardiovascular problems, overgrown hooves, digestive problems, and urinary tract problems. It’s no wonder, they are crammed into filthy sheds in cages where they can’t turn around, for months at a time.