In a landmark move in the food service industry, Elior North America has announced its commitment to eliminate gestation crates from its operations. The corporate giant is among the five largest food service companies in the United States, all of which have made similar commitments.
The decision, which signals a major shift in the foodservice sector, comes after months of constructive dialogue and mounting pressure from Animal Equality. The company unveiled a roadmap with yearly milestones, aiming to achieve 100% group housing for pregnant pigs between 2025 and 2026.
In addition to eliminating gestation crates, Elior North America has also released a roadmap with the same target timeline to achieve a 100% cage-free egg supply for its shell, liquid, and frozen egg products.
Elior’s new policy will have a direct impact on the lives of 640 mother pigs and 117,960 hens each year.
Extreme Confinement Under Fire
Gestation crates have long been a contentious issue with animal protection organizations, animal welfare experts, and scientists. Often compared to living in an airplane seat, pregnant pigs confined in these small crates are unable to turn around or take more than a step forward. Gestation crates have been banned in eleven U.S. states, Sweden, and the U.K.
The metal bars of these small crates often dig into pregnant pigs’ skin, causing sores. They spend their entire pregnancies in this confinement, displaying signs of mental anguish such as biting at the air and throwing their heads against the bars. After giving birth, mother pigs are artificially inseminated again, perpetuating this cycle of suffering.
A Shift in the Industry
Elior’s recent decision marks the fifth commitment by major food service companies in the past few years–three of which followed pressure from Animal Equality. Animal defenders are hopeful that this shift away from extreme cruelty will continue.
In November 2022, the world’s largest food service provider–Compass Group–committed to eliminating gestation crates following a campaign launched by Animal Equality. The campaign culminated in a protest outside Bank of America, a client of Compass Group.
The fourth-largest food service provider in the United States, Delaware North, followed suit just one month later. It was topped only by Conagra–better known by brand names like Slim Jim, Chef Boyardee and Orville Redenbacher–a consumer packaged goods company that made its own commitment earlier this year due to pressure from Animal Equality.
Animal Equality’s advocacy for animals has undeniably played a crucial role in influencing these industry giants. Animal defenders will continue to battle the cruelest industry practices and monitor Elior’s progress toward its goal.
A Cruelty-Free Future Starts with You
As the food service industry continues to evolve, Elior North America’s commitments serve as a testament to the growing demand for ethical and sustainable food.
While these developments are encouraging, the most efficient way to spare animals from suffering and death is to replace their meat, dairy, and eggs with plant-based proteins. True change starts with consumers, whose power over food corporations shouldn’t be understated.
To support this global shift to plant-based foods, Animal Equality launched the Love Veg movement as a beginner-friendly resource. Join millions of people around the world who have already begun their transition, discovering free and convenient recipes today.
SAVE PIGS FROM ABUSE
Pigs are highly social animals who are often considered smarter than dogs.
You can protect these intelligent animals by simply choosing plant‑based alternatives.