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Group Sow Housing

Group Sow Housing Commitment and Next Steps

As a purchaser of animal products, we understand and value the principles of responsibility of our suppliers, including animal welfare, and we require that all animals in our supply chain are raised in a healthy environment and treated appropriately.

As it relates to sow housing alternatives, Hormel Foods understands that many of its customers have made commitments surrounding continued support of group sow housing alternatives within their supply chains. To aid these efforts, Hormel Foods will continue to support alternatives to gestation stalls, including group sow housing, and is committed to leading the way in our owned operations and playing a role in evolving the supply chain. We will continue to support customers’ and consumers’ wishes related to animal welfare standards, as we work with suppliers on how best to achieve these requirements.

Hormel Foods made a commitment to transition its company-owned sow farms to group sow housing by 2018. It met this commitment early, and today the company uses the latest sow housing technology for its company-owned sows. Our company-owned sow housing operation is also California Proposition 12 and Massachusetts Question 3 compliant. In fact, Hormel Foods was among the first companies to commit to compliance with California Proposition 12 and a wide range of compliant Hormel Foods products were available beginning in January 2022, and continue to be today. In addition, one of our subsidiaries, Applegate Farms, already houses sows in groups and has been doing so since 1987.

The next steps Hormel Foods will take are:

  • Baseline Study: Starting early in our fiscal year 2024, Hormel Foods will conduct a baseline study to understand the use and prevalence of group sow housing throughout our supply chain. Targeting spring of 2024, we will publicly share the results of this study, including the current total percentage of animals harvested coming from group housing systems within our supply chain and action steps we will take toward increasing this percentage within our supply chain in order to exceed customer/consumer demand.
  • Reporting Progress: Moving forward, our Global Impact Reports will provide quantitative data, including the total percentage of group-housed production in our supply chain, and relevant actions taken in that year.
  • Engaging Customers: We will work closely with our customers, especially those who have made similar commitments, to ensure that there is an understanding of the investments required by farmers to achieve progress in this area.
  • Working Group: We will create a working group comprised of multiple farm partners to convene at least twice a year, including with customers that have group housing commitments, to understand the issue and its importance to customers and consumers.

We understand that this is a significant commitment, and one that will be dependent on a large and complex independent supply chain and market demand. We will do our part to collaborate across our supply chain to help drive progress.

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