This weekend farmers are staging a rally for Domino’s Pizza.
Why? They want to thank Domino’s Pizza shareholders for making a big decision regarding animal welfare.
Bacon, ham, Canadian bacon and pork sausage are popular pizza toppings. Recently, the Humane Society of the United States pressured Domino’s to stop topping their pizzas with pork from suppliers who house sows in gestation stalls. These stalls are used to help protect sows, which are pregnant pigs.
When many folks think about pigs, they think of Wilbur, the cute, cuddly pig from Charlotte’s Web. While we cherish this classic childhood story, the reality is that pigs can weigh several hundred pounds and have sharp teeth. In fact, a sow can weigh around 500 pounds. Some boars, adult male pigs used for breeding, can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds!
When several gestating sows are housed together, they can become aggressive. If you’re a mom, you might recall being easily irritated during your pregnancy. Can you imagine if you were being bullied by other expectant moms but had no space to get away? And, what if those other moms weighed 500 pounds and had sharp teeth? Yikes! Gestation stalls give the soon-to-be mama pigs privacy and protection to minimize injuries, reduce stress and keep their unborn babies safe.
In addition, gestation stalls help farmers provide more precise nourishment for each sow. Just like expectant humans, sows have special nutritional needs as they progress through pregnancy. Keeping the mother pig well-fed and hydrated helps ensure her future babies are healthy. While in a gestation stall, a sow does not have to compete with other hungry moms for food and water.
Remember, sows do not spend their entire lives in a gestation stall. They enter the stalls when they’re about four weeks pregnant. Sows are moved to a farrowing house, or nursery, shortly before giving birth at around 114 days gestation.
Animal health and safety are the top priorities for livestock producers. Farmers are very focused on reducing stress in order to raise healthy, content animals. In fact, many manufacturers now offer gestation stall setups that allow sows to choose to be in the open or in their stall. As farmers, we sincerely want what’s best for our animals. It’s not only good for business, but it’s the right thing to do.
So, what’s with Domino’s, anyhow?
Why on earth would farmers be organizing a nationwide rally to support Domino’s Pizza? To say thank you to the stockholders for doing their homework instead of blindly following the recommendations of an extremist group. We support their initiative to weigh all the facts first.
A Domino’s spokesperson noted that the company “relies on animal experts to determine the best way to raise an animal that’s used for food.” We think that’s a good policy to follow, one that we exercise on our own farms. We trust the recommendations of animal health experts like veterinarians and university researchers who have extensively studied livestock welfare.
You’ll hear us at CommonGround often encouraging you to “Do your homework” just like Domino’s did. In an age of information, there can be a lot of information flying around. Deciphering what’s accurate and what’s not can be a real challenge. That’s why we recommend looking at all sides of the story and asking questions of folks who can speak firsthand about the issue.
Hungry for pizza?
Looking for a night off from cooking this weekend? From May 18-20, we definitely encourage you to show Domino’s we appreciate their due diligence in making a well-informed decision. Find a store in your area. And why not try topping your pizza with a pork product for an extra thanks?