Sears Holdings announced today that the company will begin informing suppliers of a new policy statement regarding the use of gestation-sow stalls. The company did not include a timeline, but the growing target from other food companies is 2022.
Headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Ill., Sears Holdings includes Kmart stores, which offers groceries at 25 Super Kmart locations across the United States.
The Kmart announcement followed pressure from animal activists on Tuesday, as Mercy for Animals (MFA) posted an undercover video shot on a Minnesota pork operation, Christensen Farms. Associated with it was a campaign to encourage consumers to contact food companies whose pork supply is traced to the farm. That action included Wal-Mart and Costco, but did not openly mention Kmart. On Tuesday, Costco sent a letter to its pork suppliers indicating that the company would be moving to gestation-stall-free pork with a 2022 deadline.
"We believe that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and we support and appreciate the efforts of pork suppliers to reduce and eliminate the use of gestation crates," said Robin Michel, Sears Holdings" senior vice president and president for grocery, drug and pharmacy. "While this is a lengthy process, we support the industry for taking steps to make this much needed change and we anticipate and know this will take time."
"Mercy For Animals applauds both Costco's and Kmart's commitment to eliminate one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence," said Nathan Runkle, Mercy For Animals' executive director.
"Costco and Kmart's commitments to transition their pork supply chains should send a strong signal to the pork industry that confining pigs in crates so small they cannot even turn around or lie down comfortably is blatant animal abuse that will not be tolerated by socially responsible retailers," he added.
Sears Holdings has 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.