Stall-free pork–reality sets in
Many of the nation’s major restaurant, grocery and food service chains have called for the elimination of gestation stalls from their pork supply chains. Is it possible some of them may be changing their minds? Here’s the fourth and final report in our Stalled Out series.
National Pork Producers Council director of industry relations Dallas Hockman says he has met with 30 of those food companies in recent months. Hockman says he can’t predict whether any of them will modify or retract their earlier statements on gestation stalls. But he says they are starting to realize that moving to stall-free pork is not as simple as it sounds.
“They have a full realization now that some of these changes, such as sow housing, are going to result in additional costs,” Hockman says, “and so we’re beginning to have discussions with some those major players about their willingness to pay more for the product.”
Hockman says those companies also realize that it may take a two-tier pricing system to encourage the conversion and segregation process.
“The stark reality is we still have a very small percentage of our industry that’s capable of delivering product of that nature,” he says. “We’re not seeing hardly any—very little—segregation occur at our packing plants, because it is a significant cost.”
Under pressure from the Humane Society of the United States, more than 50 food companies have made gestation-stall free announcements.