Tim Hortons expects stall-free pork by 2022

Tuesday Apr 09 2013
by www.manitobacooperator.ca

Coffee-and-donut giant says egg supply pledge also "on track"

Having reviewed its pork suppliers' plans to phase out the use of gestation stalls for breeding sows, Canada's iconic Tim Hortons chain now expects to have moved to stall-free pork by the year 2022.

In the Oakville, Ont. company's annual Sustainability and Responsibility report, released Wednesday, Tim Hortons said it has "consulted with our suppliers, the pork industry and other stakeholders on the use of gestation stalls for breeding sows and reviewed their plans throughout 2012."

The company in mid-2012 gave its pork suppliers until the end of the year to have "clear plans" in place to phase out sow gestation stalls. With those plans in hand, the company said Wednesday, "by 2022, we will source pork from suppliers who have made a transition to alternative open housing."

The chain on Wednesday also pledged to "work with the pork industry and governments to advance standardized approaches and codes resulting in more humane and sustainable open housing systems" and to "support efforts to improve traceability systems and verification."

Individual gestation stalls were adopted by hog breeders starting in the 1960s. The model was viewed at that time by the industry as a way to protect pregnant sows from aggressive behaviours displayed by dominant animals in group pens, and to ensure each pregnant sow had full access to feed.

The gestation stall model has since come under heavy criticism for its limits on sows' movement, as the stall's crate-style metal frame prevents an animal from turning around.


Tim Hortons last summer had also set a target to be purchasing at least 10 per cent of its eggs from producers who use "enriched housing systems" for layer hens by the end of 2013 and to "progressively increase our commitment beyond 2013 as additional supply becomes available."

The company said Wednesday it's "on track to meet our goal," which represents the purchase of "significantly more than 10 million eggs."

On the animal welfare front, the company's report on Wednesday also noted its move to set up the Tim Hortons Sustainable Food Management Fund at the University of Guelph.

The company also reiterated it plans to hold a "North America-wide restaurant industry summit focusing on academic research about animal welfare issues and best practices" this fall.

Tim Hortons, founded in Hamilton in 1964, has expanded in scope and influence to become one of the biggest publicly-traded quick-service restaurant chains in North America based on market capitalization, and the largest in Canada.

As of Dec. 30 last year, the company operated 3,436 restaurants in Canada, 804 in the U.S. and 24 in the Persian Gulf region.


Animal welfare organizations on Wednesday hailed the chain's next step on sow stalls.

Matt Prescott, food policy director for farm animal protection with the Humane Society of the United States, said the company is "addressing one of the most critical animal welfare issues in food production today" and the move "supports the food industry's rejection of gestation crates as irresponsible, unsustainable and inhumane."

In the same release, Sayara Thurston, a campaigner with the Montreal-based Canadian arm of Humane Society International, noted the ongoing review by Canada's National Farm Animal Care Council of its code of practice for the care and handling of pigs.

NFACC's code development committee, Thurston said, "must take into account the wishes of dozens of leading retailers and include a timeline for the complete elimination of gestation crates from the Canadian pork industry."

NFACC, which oversees the development of codes of practice for farm animals, said in December it expects to meet a June 1 target to begin the public comment period on the revised code for pigs.

Florian Possberg, chair of the the council's pig code committee, said in a release last month that gestation stalls, along with space allowance and pain mitigation, are "the most sensitive (issues) and we have looked at them in depth to find the best approach."

Those three issues, he said, "will likely be the lightning rods when the draft code comes out for public comment and that feedback will help shape the final document."

Back to News
read news archiveClick here for Contact Information