The Humane Society has filed a complaint alleging that Smithfield Foods, McDonald's pork supplier, crams its pigs in tiny gestation crates
10:30 a.m.: This post has been updated to include a response from Smithfield Foods.
Perhaps you've heard the news: The McRib is back! "Even your dreams dream about this," says McDonald's about the return of this "fantastically flavorful," "sweetly scrumptious," "sensationally savory" pork sandwich. Further distinguishing the McRib is the implication that the pork comes from happy pigs raised under humane and sustainable conditions. McDonald's buys its pork from Smithfield Foods, which employs Dr. Temple Grandin as an animal welfare advisor and, perhaps as a result, brands itself as "100 percent committed to ... animal care." In an outburst of appreciation for the work Smithfield does, McDonald's recently recognized the Virginia-based company with a "supplier sustainability" award.
But the Humane Society of the United States isn't celebrating. Yesterday, HSUS filed a legal complaint (PDF) with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that Smithfield is misleading consumers about its welfare practices. In a series of videos titled "Taking the Mystery out of Pork Production," Smithfield contends that its animals are raised under "ideal" conditions in an environment where "every need is met."