250,000 Demand Tyson Foods Stop Using Gestation Crates
Almost a quarter of a million people have signed a petition to Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest meat processor and major U.S. pork supplier, created by consumer watchdog group SumOfUs.org and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) demanding the company develop plans for getting the gestation crate confinement of pigs out of its supply chain.
The petition follows the announcements of many of the nation’s largest food companies–including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kroger, Safeway and Denny’s–that they will eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. The effort also follows this Spring’s release of undercover footage taken by the HSUS at a pig factory farm that was supplying animals to Tyson Foods, in which breeding pigs were crammed into gestation crates, piglets were kicked like soccer balls and swung in circles by their hind legs and mother pigs were repeatedly beaten when they resisted being separated from their young, among other abuses.
“Consumer citizens have sent a message that is loud and clear to Tyson’s that they don’t support forcing pigs to spend their lives crammed inside cages so small they can’t even turn around,” said Taren Stinebricker-Kauffman, founder and executive director of SumOfUs.org. “Consumers are showing their power over corporations to shift their practices and shift entire industries. It’s time for Tyson to move beyond gestation crates to alternative housing.”
While other leading pork companies–like Smithfield Foods and Hormel–have stated their company-owned pig breeding operations will be gestation crate-free by 2017, and Cargill’s breeding operations are already 50 percent gestation crate-free, Tyson has no plans to get gestation crates out of its supply chain, and continues defending their use.
“Countless people care about how animals raised for food are abused and gestation crate confinement has come to epitomize that cruelty,” continued Stinebrickner-Kauffman. “The demise of gestation crates has become inevitable and Tyson should stop lagging behind its competitors and start thinking outside the crate.”
Earlier this Spring, SumOfUs.org members were instrumental at getting Tim Hortons, the fourth largest restaurant chain in North America, to commit to getting their pork producers to submit plans for phasing out gestation crates by the end of 2012.
About Gestation Crates:
• More than 80 percent of breeding pigs in the U.S. are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancy in gestation crates, cages roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies, preventing them from even turning around. They are then placed into another crate to give birth, are re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This happens pregnancy after pregnancy for their entire lives, adding up to years of virtual immobilization.
• Eight U.S. states have passed laws to ban the practice and Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have bills pending that would do the same.
• Renowned animal welfare scientist and advisor to the pork industry, Dr. Temple Grandin, is clear on this issue: “Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life.” Grandin further states, “We’ve got to treat animals right and the gestation stalls have got to go.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FACTORY FARMING page for more related news on this topic.
SumofUs is a global movement of consumers, investors and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, the HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.
By Gwen Ranniger
Fertility issues are on the rise, and new literature points to ways that your environment may be part of the problem. We've rounded up some changes you can make in your life to promote a healthy reproductive system.
Infertility and Environmental Health: The Facts<ul> <li>Sperm count is declining steeply, significantly, and continuously in Western countries, with no signs of tapering off. Erectile dysfunction is on the rise, and women are facing increasing rates of miscarriage and difficulty conceiving.</li><li>Why? A huge factor is our environmental health. Hormones (particularly testosterone and estrogen) are what make reproductive function possible, and our hormones are increasingly being negatively affected by harmful, endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonplace in the modern world—in our homes, foods, and lifestyles.</li></ul>
What You Can Do About It<p>It should be noted that infertility can be caused by any number of factors, including medical conditions that cannot be solved with a simple change at home.</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are struggling with infertility, our hearts and sympathies are with you. Your pain is validated and we hope you receive answers to your struggles.</em></p><p>Read on to discover our tips to restore or improve reproductive health by removing harmful habits and chemicals from your environment.</p>
Edit Your Health<ul><li>If you smoke, quit! Smoking is toxic, period. If someone in your household smokes, urge them to quit or institute a no-smoking ban in the house. It is just as important to avoid secondhand smoke.</li><li>Maintain a healthy weight. Make sure your caloric intake is right for your body and strive for moderate exercise.</li><li>Eat cleanly! Focus on whole foods and less processed meals and snacks. Studies have found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet is linked to increased fertility.</li><li>Minimize negative/constant stress—or find ways to manage it. Hobbies such as meditation or yoga that encourage practiced breathing are great options to reduce the physical toll of stress.</li></ul>
Edit Your Home<p>We spend a lot of time in our homes—and care that what we bring into them will not harm us. You may not be aware that many commonly found household items are sources of harmful, endocrine-disrupting compounds. Read on to find steps you can take—and replacements you should make—in your home.</p><p><strong>In the Kitchen</strong></p><ul> <li>Buy organic, fresh, unprocessed foods whenever possible. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/clean-grocery-shopping-guide-2648563801.html" target="_blank">Read our grocery shopping guide for more tips about food.</a></li><li>Switch to glass, ceramics, or stainless steel for food storage: plastics often contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that affect fertility. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/bpa-pollution-2645493129.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Learn more about the dangers of plastic here.</a></li><li>Ban plastic from the microwave. If you have a plastic splatter cover, use paper towel, parchment paper, or an upside-down plate instead.</li><li>Upgrade your cookware: non-stick may make life easier, but it is made with unsafe chemical compounds that seep into your food. Cast-iron and stainless steel are great alternatives.</li><li>Filter tap water. Glass filter pitchers are an inexpensive solution; if you want to invest you may opt for an under-the-sink filter.</li><li>Check your cleaning products—many mainstream products are full of unsafe chemicals. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check out our guide to safe cleaning products for more info</a>.</li></ul><p><strong>In the Bathroom </strong></p><ul> <li>Check the labels on your bathroom products: <em>fragrance-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free</em> and organic labels are all great signs. You can also scan the ingredients lists for red-flag chemicals such as: triclosan, parabens, and dibutyl phthalate. Use the <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/" target="_blank">EWG Skin Deep database</a> to vet your personal products.</li><li>Ditch the vinyl shower curtain—that new shower curtain smell is chemical-off gassing. Choose a cotton or linen based curtain instead.</li><li>Banish air fresheners—use natural fresheners (an open window, baking soda, essential oils) instead.</li></ul><p><strong>Everywhere Else</strong></p><ul><li>Remove wall-to-wall carpet. If you've been considering wood or tile, here's your sign: many synthetic carpets can emit harmful chemicals for years. If you want a rug, choose wool or plant materials such as jute or sisal.</li><li>Prevent dust build-up. Dust can absorb chemicals in the air and keep them lingering in your home. Vacuum rugs and wipe furniture, trim, windowsills, fans, TVs, etc. Make sure to have a window open while you're cleaning!</li><li>Leave shoes at the door! When you wear your shoes throughout the house, you're tracking in all kinds of chemicals. If you like wearing shoes inside, consider a dedicated pair of "indoor shoes" or slippers.</li><li>Clean out your closet—use cedar chips or lavender sachets instead of mothballs, and use "green" dry-cleaning services over traditional methods. If that isn't possible, let the clothes air out outside or in your garage for a day before putting them back in your closet.</li><li>Say no to plastic bags!</li><li>We asked 22 endocrinologists what products they use - and steer clear of—in their homes. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/nontoxic-products-2648564261.html" target="_blank">Check out their responses here</a>.</li></ul>
Learn More<ul><li>For more information and action steps, be sure to check out <em>Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race</em> by EHS adjunct scientist Shanna Swan, PhD: <a href="https://www.shannaswan.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">available for purchase here.</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ehn.org/st/Subscribe_to_Above_The_Fold" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sign up for our Above the Fold Newsletter </a>to stay up to date about impacts on the environment and your health.</li></ul>
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