Maple Leaf Foods has announced that by the end of 2021, it will complete transitioning all breeding sows in company-owned barns to its Advanced Open Sow Housing System.
This system provides open housing during pregnancy that allows sows to roam, rest, feed, and socialize freely.
This shift in sow housing makes Maple Leaf Foods a North American leader in producing pigs without gestation crates, says the company.
Maple Leaf Foods says its system differs from other open sow housing systems by not just opening or removing gestation crates, but rather by creating housing areas with various spaces that support sows’ desires to choose when to play, to socialize, to eat, and to rest. The open system also helps Maple Leaf Foods to observe the sows more readily as they move about, monitor their health more accurately, and provide optimal care, the company says.
The Maple Leaf Foods Advanced Open Sow Housing System also includes:
- electronic sow feeders
- cool water misters during the hot summer months
- bright LED lighting
- windows for natural light
- night lights for those sows who choose to feed at night
“Ensuring the animals in our care experience the best possible environment at Maple Leaf Foods, is the right thing to do and an essential part of our sustainability commitment,” said Michael McCain, president and CEO. “Our progress in eliminating gestation crates in our sow barns across Canada is a significant milestone as we proudly lead the industry towards a more compassionate approach to animal welfare.”