Posted 12/5/2012 15:03 (#2734493) Subject: McDonald's New Policy
This is a copy of an article written, that I thought everyone should read:
AN OPEN LETTER TO MCDONALDS
“It is the first time in history farmers have to fight mankind to feed them”
By Riley Lewis, Pork Producer. Iowa
December 4, 2012
As a regular McDonalds customer for the last 50 years and a pork producer on our Iowa family farm established in 1869, it disappoints me that McDonalds has thrown “science under the bus” in favor of emotions when it comes to gestation stalls in pork production.
Those of us who have boots on the ground experience for decades totally agree with the American Veterinary Association and Land Grant Universities of the advantages of gestation stalls over pen gestation. The truth is pen gestation is like fast food restaurants going back to cash registers and Styrofoam containers.
Today’s gestation stalls provide individual care, feeding and management. They protect animals from aggressive fighting which causes abortions, injuries, and even deaths of expensive breeding stock and reduces antibiotics to treat injured animals. Gestation stalls allows animals to consume all their needed feed without being stolen by boss sows. Sows that lack feed produce smaller litters with diminished ability to provide milk to them.
Most importantly stalls protect family and employees. Sows weighing 500 lbs. can be quick, aggressive, and strike without warning.
One has to ask will pen gestation result in “Kinder, gentler McMuffin Sandwich, McRib or piece of bacon?” Will your customers actually taste the difference?
It’s ironic that I can’t find any broad based survey that shows the consumers actually asked for this change! The best way anti-meat animal activists can promote their agenda is to impose restricting regulations like “pen gestation only.” They first target states with minimal pork production to get national attention. Knowing the stiff resistance in Midwest Pork states, they proceed to target the fast food and retail outlets. It does not take a rocket scientist to see through the simple tactic of divide and conquer.
It also important to address the future as we both look to the next decade. Will pork producers retool, remodel, or build new? How many producers because of age and condition of units will exit the business completely? Also how will packers segregate hogs when processed? (Ask any packer on how Country of Origin Labeling COOL worked for them.) Keeping hogs separate from one country was hard enough let alone keeping hogs from thousands of different hog farms. Will producers and packers “super-size” their costs to you for your extra requirements?
Or will it come down to this? Will American producers and packers in ten years be more willing to contract pork for export to foreign countries who are more concerned about feeding their hungry people than sell to Americas Corporations who set requirements that are costly and counterproductive?
Twenty four hours from the time you read this there will be 200,000 more mouths to feed in this world. Our world demands more food and not less in the future. It is then in our mutual interest for each of us to what we do best and to “man up” to those who have other agendas detrimental to our way of doing business.
Each year we host farm tours to our hog barns with tourist groups from across America. At the beginning of the tour I ask them to show me any animals they see under stress or discomfort. This year a California couple remarked our hogs have it better than many people in America. Our hogs are fully fed and watered. In the summer heat they receive a cooling shower every hour its above 80 degrees. In the winter when it’s -30 degrees outside, its 70 degrees inside the barns and they have a care giver on the job seven days a week. Our guests thanked us for showing them the care we give to our animals.
“Farmers shouldn’t have to fight mankind to feed a hungry world”