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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Cheesecake Factory To Require California Proposition #12 Standards For Pork


Following on from their 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility report, Cheesecake Factory, Inc. will require 75 percent of its pork supply to be derived from sows held under group housing by the end of 2022.  During 2021, 30 percent of pork supply was derived from producers that maintained sows in gestation crates for less than 28 days.


Megan Bloomer, VP for Sustainability at the Cheesecake Factory stated, “The welfare of all animals throughout our supply chain is critically important to us.”  She added, “We are on the path to eliminating gestation crates and thanks to our valued pork suppliers, we are able to further improve the welfare of sows in our supply chain by aligning with California Proposition #12 standards.” Irrespective of the outcome of the appeal by the National Pork Producers Council to the Supreme Court, customers including restaurants and the retail segment have adopted standards conforming to California Proposition #12.


The implications are that standards may be imposed on customers by animal rights organizations through coercion, irrespective of whether they are practical and beneficial. They may demand that retailers and restaurants adopt requirements usually applicable to and devised in the E.U. and then superimposed on U.S. production systems.  Where applicable and beneficial, producers have accepted changes to traditional housing and management as exemplified by production of organic broilers and adoption of lower-level GAP requirements for broilers that add to cost but may have the potential to expand the customer base.  Providing there is an incremental margin derived from specified welfare standards, producers will be motivated to comply.  It is, however, an unfortunate reality that in an inflationary environment, lower income demographics are obliged to be cost conscious. These consumers do not perceive either welfare or sustainability as attributes for which they are willing to pay extra.


Livestock producers and especially those involved in broiler production should be proactive in promoting the welfare of existing systems to preempt negative publicity. This strategy will in the long-term, be more productive than maintaining a reactive and defensive response after the moral high ground has been seized through web-postings and protests.

Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane