Tuesday, October 2, 2012

HUSUS president seeks Tyson directorship

In a case of the fox trying to get into the henhouse, Wayne Pacelle, president and ceo of the Humane Society of the United States, is seeking election to the board of directors of Tyson Foods Inc.

He has the support of Carl Icahn, famous for taking over or terrorizing corporations by buying stocks.

Pacelle is interested in only one thing at Tyson – setting a firm deadline to phase out sow gestation stalls.

Pacelle notes that Smithfield Foods, Hormel Corp. and Cargill Inc. have all said they will move their sows out of gestations crates in five years.

This HSUS campaign over sow gestation stalls gets sillier by the week. And I don't see any evidence that the general public gives two hoots about sow gestation crates. Most probably have no clue what the fuss is about.

Besides, I think Pacelle is wrong to simply call for a ban on sow gestation crates. I have no doubt there are better housing systems from the sows' point of view, if not the hog farmers' stewardship and profits.

But it seems to me that crates might have a place in that better housing system, one that resembles loose housing for dairy cattle. A combination of a modest number of sows in an open pen with crates that sows can enter and exit whenever they wish, and get an electronically-controlled amount of feed while in the stall, makes sense to me.