Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Domino's praised by Big Agriculture for still crating pigs

While McDonald'sBurger King, Wendy's have followed Chipotle's lead in phasing out the use of nasty gestation crates in their pork supply chain, apparently Domino's will not follow suit. This despite the fact that both consumers and animal welfare professionals are pressuring them to do so.

While this is a potential PR black eye for the hold-out, Domino's has earned a new fan in The Texas Farm Bureau.

Michael Barnett, via Twitter

From their blog:
"It’s about time one of the major fast food franchises showed some backbone to the animal rights activist group. Other fast-food companies—including Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s—have caved to their demands, fearing HSUS will stir public outcry and reprisal if they don’t."
Interestingly, the writer, Director of Publications Mike Barnett says "I’m not defending nor condemning their use. I truly don’t know enough about pork production to make that judgment." He defers to the American Veterinary Medical Association's recommendation that "to address animal welfare in the long term, advantages of current housing systems should be retained while making improvements in design to overcome problems identified."

In other words, the AVMA believes that current cage systems need to be improved, but that there are some advantages to separating sows from their fellow pigs when breeding them in factory farms.

Mr. Barnett doesn't really care about that, however. He's just happy that Domino's didn't play "follow-the-leader in these fast-food follies."

Follow-the-leader in responding to consumer demand for less cruelty in the animal food supply chain? Whatever you say. The same blog also vilifies market farmers who advertise "hormone-free" meat (“Really? I know I have hormones. My girlfriend has hormones. You have hormones. Don’t you think cows have hormones?” Mr. Barnett writes) and wishes starvation on "food activists", "tree huggers" and "bureaucrats". (I won't take a shot at his defence of "pink slime" in the beef industry, however, as I also took issue with the media hype around the issue — but from a different angle.)

Big Agriculture is attempting to buttress Domino's resolve. The publication Farm & Dairy and Drovers Cattle Network echo the Farm Bureau's call to buycott Domino's:

There is also an "Ag Pizza Party" event on Facebook, with 1,245 people confirming their support of Domino's so far.

I'm not a Domino's consumer anyway (local mom & pop joints FTW) so they probably don't care what I think about their supplier choices. But what I find interesting is the way that the reactionary forces of industry are rallying to fight the online fight to improve animal welfare conditions on farms. 

In the end, pizza fans will decide.

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