Humane Society Sues World’s Largest Pork Producer Over Sow Confinement

The Humane Society of the United States has filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court against Virginia-based Smithfield Foods for allegedly misleading consumers about the company’s elimination of gestation crates for pregnant sows. In 2018, the pork producer announced in a press release that “Smithfield Foods delivers on decade-old promise to eliminate pregnant sow stalls in U.S.” and has represented widely that it uses group housing for sows rather than gestation crates. However, the complaint alleges that Smithfield still confines sows for up to half the year in gestation crates so small the pigs cannot turn around. The lawsuit also challenges the veracity of Smithfield’s public claims that “all pigs are traceable to farm of origin” as part of an effort “to let consumers trace the story of [Defendant’s] products from farm to plate.” Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief.