Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, has committed to phasing out the use of gestation crates at all of its facilities by 2017. The Humane Society of the United States had been urging the company to recommit to a timeline after it first pledged to discontinue use of the crates in 2007, but adjourned efforts in 2009. HSUS is now urging other major meat producers, such as Tyson and Hormel, to follow suit and eliminate use of the crates, which eight states and the entire European Union have already passed legislation to phase out. Gestation crates are used to confine sows for most or all of their adult lives, increasing stress levels and prohibiting them from turning around, lying down comfortably, or exhibiting natural behaviors.
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