Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) and duBreton announced that 300,000 more pigs will be raised, without gestation stalls or traditional farrowing crates by 2018.
DuBreton was the first pork producer to apply for HFAC’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled label in 2003. At the time, duBreton had two separate farm operations: their natural pork and organic pork operations and their commodity pork operations. The commodity pork operations allowed gestation crates and farrowing stalls; their natural pork and organic pork operations did not. HFAC certifies “split operations” if farms are geographically separated from each other. The duBreton natural pork and organic pork operations were geographically separated from the commodity pork operations and met 100% of HFAC’s Animal Care Standards, which in addition to numerous requirements, forbids the use of gestation stalls and farrowing crates.
“Allowing certification of split operations gives farmers a chance to see the impact of the Certified Humane standards on the animals under their care and the economic effect of the Certified Humane program on their business,” says Adele Douglass, executive director for HFAC. “Vincent Breton, the President of duBreton pork made a commitment to me in 2003 that he would work towards eliminating gestation crates and farrowing crates from all of his operations. This announcement shows he’s a man of his word. This is exactly the kind of impact we hoped the Certified Humane® program would have on the future of farm animal welfare.”
HFAC’s mission is to end factory farming through consumer demand in the marketplace rather than through legislative approaches. After several years working on Capitol Hill, Douglass learned that social change often happens faster in the open market place. As a result of that epiphany, Douglass cashed in her retirement savings to launch the non-profit HFAC and create the Certified Humane Raised and Handled program in the U.S. in 2003.
Farmers may have been slow to adopting more humane standards because humane farming costs more to do. But consumer demand for humanely-raised food products is showing farmers that transitioning to humane farming is worth the extra effort, both for their operations and the welfare of the animals.
“Compared to commodity or traditional farming practices, it costs us 50 per cent more to raise Certified Humane® pork and more than double to raise an organic pig,” says Vincent Breton, third-generation president of duBreton®. “The result is the highest quality pork possible, and as this translates into only a slight increase at retail, we believe it is well worth the cost to preserve the dignity and respect of the animals in our care. Obviously, consumers agree as demand is outpacing supply in many markets where we trade.”