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Happier pigs?

(article, Culinate staff)

Fast-food giant McDonald's recently announced plans to follow in the footsteps of Burger King and phase out the use of gestation crates by its pork suppliers. 

The company isn't promising anything more than a 10-year phase-out plan, but as the New York Times noted, the fast-food industry watches what Mickey D's does: "McDonald’s buys just 1 percent of the total pork produced in the country, but its influence is much larger."

Meanwhile, Nicolette Hahn Niman — the "Pig Lady" — has a reflective piece on Cooking Up A Story about her career advocating for pork-industry reform. Gestation crates, she notes, aren't just cruel; they don't actually save farmers money.

bq. Researchers at Iowa State University have studied the economics and productivity of operations using crates compared with those that do not. They found that a well-run farm without crates will substantially outperform operations with crates, and that its costs average 11 percent lower.