Progress: Walmart Announces Sweeping Animal Welfare Policy

Today, Walmart—the nation’s largest food retailer—announced its commitment to improving farmed animal welfare across its entire global supply chain with one of the most comprehensive animal welfare policies of its kind. The announcement follows the release of six hidden-camera videos taken by Mercy For Animals at Walmart pork suppliers across the country exposing extreme animal abuse.

Citing the “five freedoms”—a set of ethical imperatives for farmed animal welfare—the mega retailer has announced its commitment to ending many of the cruelest forms of institutionalized animal abuse in its entire supply chain, including the intensive confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates, baby calves in veal crates, and egg-laying hens in battery cages. Walmart announced it is also working to end the needless mutilations of animals without painkillers, such as castration, tail docking, and dehorning, and is moving towards less cruel slaughter methods.

The announcement follows an intense campaign by MFA against the retail giant, including more than 150 protests at Walmart stores across the country, full-page newspaper ads, mobile billboards circling the Walmart headquarters in Arkansas, 640,000 petition signatures on Change.org, and A-list celebrity support from Joaquin Phoenix, Ryan Gosling, Sia, Pamela Anderson, Emily Deschanel, and more.

This is a historic and landmark day for the protection of farmed animals in America. The announcement that Walmart is committed to doing away with many of the cruelest factory farming practices in its supply chain, including the intensive confinement of pigs and other animals, signals an important new era and direction for the company. We are heartened that Walmart not only took notice, but also took action, after egregious cruelty was exposed in its pork supply chain.

The pork industry’s use of gestation crates is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence and we praise Walmart for acknowledging that this cruel system must be phased out. By speaking out against cruel crates, painful mutilations, and horrific killing methods, Walmart is taking a positive step forward in improving animal welfare. We hope Walmart acts quickly and diligently to implement these changes in order to spare millions of animals needless misery and suffering.

We urge Walmart to add greater teeth to this announcement by making the new guidelines a requirement rather than a mere recommendation, and to set aggressive timelines for its suppliers to meet its expectations. While there is still work to be done, Walmart’s announcement is one of the most sweeping animal welfare policies ever adopted by a major food company. We hope that the rest of the food industry will follow Walmart’s lead in prohibiting the cruel confinement of animals in cages barely larger than their bodies, mutilations without painkillers, and other inhumane practices.

With Walmart’s announcement, it has never been clearer that the days are numbered for many of the factory farming industry’s cruelest practices.

While this is important progress for Walmart, remember that the best way you can help pigs and other farmed animals is simply to stop eating them. Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious vegan recipes and helpful tips.