IL Aldi Stores May End 'Inhumane' Conditions For Pregnant Pigs

Illinois-based Aldi says it will encourage its suppliers to move to more humane pork production practices.


By Shannon Antinori, Patch (Batavia, IL)

Nov 7, 2019


BATAVIA, IL The discount grocery chain Aldi, which has more than 140 stores in Illinois, is joining a growing list of food businesses condemning the pork-production practice of confining sows in gestation crates for the duration of their nearly four-month pregnancies.


The gestation crates, which are barely large enough to house the pig and too small for her to turn around, have been blasted by animal-welfare advocates as cruel, inhumane and torturous. More than 60 major food corporations have changed their animal-welfare policies to require their suppliers improve living conditions for pregnant sows.


Aldi is based in Batavia.


"Compare it to how it would impact a dog that had a crate that was so tight it was the same length and width of the animal, the dog couldn't turn around and the dog spent its entire life there," said Jess Chipkin, the president and founder of Crate Free Illinois, an animal rights group that met with Aldi earlier this year to talk about changing its policies.


"In our world that would be considered animal cruelty; in the world of Big Ag, that's considered business as usual," Chipkin said. "It's asking an animal to live in an environment that is totally unnatural."


Chipkin and other animal-welfare advocates argue pigs are highly intelligent beings that suffer in the small crates and deserve better treatment. Their innate behavior is to forage and root around, but "there's nothing innate about being stuck in gestation crates," she said.


Illinois is the fourth-largest pork producing state in the nation, and part of Chipkin's organization's mission is to end a practice firmly entrenched in factory-style agriculture and, she said, difficult to remove entirely because of economic pressures.


A U.S. Department of Agriculture report said...