In the midst of debate surrounding sows' group housing vs. gestation stalls, Smithfield Foods, Inc., in 2007 moved away from the stalls, citing consumer demand.
In effort to meet that goal by 2017 and explain the process to consumers and others outside the industry, the company Wednesday released a video detailing each step in a sow's transition into pregnancy and a group housing situation.
"We think this is both an entertaining and informative look at how we are caring for pregnant sows, with actual footage from our sow farms that helps to explain how the group housing system ensures the safety, comfort and health of the sows during the gestation process," said Dennis H. Treacy, Smithfield's executive vice president and chief sustainability officer.
According to a January, 2013 year-end report, the company had transitioned 38% of pregnant sows on company-owned farms to the group housing system by the end of 2012.
When completed in 2017, it is estimated that the U.S. conversion will have cost about $300 million. Smithfield's international hog production operations also will complete their conversions to group housing on company-owned farms by 2022.