May 30, 2024 - News

West Coast weighs in on Walmart proposal

Illustration of a protest sign with the Walmart logo on it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The L.A. Times editorial board on Wednesday sided with a group whose animal welfare proposal will be voted on by Walmart shareholders next week.

State of play: The Accountability Board calls for Walmart to set public targets for transitioning away from gestation crates used in its pork supply chain.

The big picture: Animal-welfare advocates have long argued the farming practice is cruel.

  • Many hog farmers say it's needed to protect baby pigs and would be costly to change.

Yes, but: California's Proposition 12 restricts the sale of meat from animals not raised in systems offering "freedom of movement," meaning many farms are transitioning.

What they're saying: "It's difficult to imagine Walmart getting its pork suppliers to voluntarily change their housing setup for pregnant sows in significant numbers unless it insists," an L.A. Times editorial reads.

  • "Walmart is the largest grocery retailer in the country and should wield its clout to get more sows out of cages right now."

The other side: "The proposal is unnecessary because Walmart already has a strong animal welfare program that includes an expectation to address animal confinement concerns," the company says in its annual proxy statement.

  • The retailer notes it plans to release updated positions and strategies this fiscal year.
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