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Restaurants’ Parent Pulls Pork Policy

The parent company of IHOP and Applebee’s has joined a growing number of restaurant companies that have found it impossible to ignore the pleas of animal rights activists. DineEquity Inc. announced last month that the company is putting in place a new policy that will eliminate the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs, which limit movement. The Glendale company said it anticipates that by 2020 all of its restaurants will serve pork made without the use of the crates. “It’s something we’ll be working through. It isn’t something that can be done overnight,” said spokesman Kevin Mortesen. “We’ve been talking about doing this for quite awhile and we wanted to provide ample time for our suppliers.” The practice, banned in nine states including California, involves keeping a pregnant sow in a confined crate that prohibits the animal from turning around. Proponents say it is the best way to control the pigs and keep them from fighting, and it is standard practice at many commercial slaughterhouses. DineEquity joins companies including Oscar Mayer Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. that have pledged to eliminate the cages from their supply chains. “These companies, with their vast purchasing network, have made it even clearer to the pork industry that the time has come to innovate away from inhumane gestation crates,” said Josh Balk, corporate policy director of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. – Kelly Goff

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