Conagra Brands has committed to phasing out the use of gestation crates for pigs by fiscal year 2026. The company, which makes brands like Slim Jim and Chef Boyardee, is the latest major food company to make such a commitment.
Gestation crates are small metal enclosures that confine pregnant pigs for their entire pregnancy. The crates are so small that the pigs cannot turn around or even lie down comfortably. Animal welfare groups have long criticized the use of gestation crates, saying they are cruel and inhumane.
Conagra’s decision to phase out gestation crates comes after years of pressure from animal welfare groups. The Humane Society of the United States, which has been campaigning against gestation crates for decades, praised Conagra’s decision.
“In industrial farming, mother pigs typically spend most of their lives in cages so small that they can hardly turn around,” said Karla Dumas, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society. “While it is a sign of real progress that Conagra is setting tangible goals to get to a place where the pork they source doesn’t come from pigs languishing in cages, we remain resolute in our efforts to hold Conagra accountable to their goal to fully eliminate the use of gestation crates.”
Conagra is not the first major food company to phase out gestation crates. In recent years, companies like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Kroger have all made similar commitments.
The Humane Society estimates that more than 10 million pigs are confined to gestation crates in the United States each year. The group is calling on all food companies to phase out the use of gestation crates.