NORTHFIELD, Ill., July 7 (UPI) -- U.S. food giant Kraft said packaged meat subsidiary Oscar Mayer will phase out gestational crates for sows within the next 10 years.
"We are committed to finding better ways to keep animals healthy and in a safe environment while treating them with respect," Oscar Mayer spokeswoman Sydney Lindner said in a statement.
"This is not only important to us, but also to our consumers who care about animal well-being and comfort," Lindner said.
The move puts Oscar Mayer on the same path as McDonald's, Wendy's, Hormell and Smithfield, among others, that have agreed to stop using gestational crates, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.
The crates prevent fights among pregnant sows. However, they are so confining that animal-rights activists consider them to be cruel to the sows, which spend much of their lives pregnant, the newspaper said.
"Although the company is allowing for a lengthy phase-in of this policy, we're glad Kraft and Oscar Mayer are on the path to reform and are working to improve conditions for pigs," said Paul Shapiro, director of the factory farming campaign at the Humane Society.