Giant Food's parent company plans to do away with the practice of confining pigs as part of its supply chain, the Humane Society of the U.S. said in an announcement Friday.
Ahold USA has set 2022 as a target for when its suppliers will move from the daily use of gestation crates for pigs and instead house them in open areas, the Humane Society said.
"Our intention is to work with suppliers who share our company's values and who take a progressive approach to animal welfare," the grocery chain owner said, according to the announcement.
The cages, which confine breeding pigs for a four-month period so they are unable to turn around, have drawn criticism from animal welfare advocates. The pork industry has used the practice for the past few decades.
The Humane Society applauded Ahold's move to join other large companies and address "one of the most critical animal welfare issues in food production today," Josh Balk, director of food policy, said in a statement.
Similar announcements have been made recently by Oscar Mayer, McDonald's, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and Quiznos.