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Who Foots the Bill?

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With animal welfare groups pushing pork producers to change production methods, who’s going to foot the bill?

National Pork Board CEO Chris Novak says no matter what the case, it’s consumers. While groups like the Humane Society of the United States report that over 50 companies have pledged to phase out industry-standard gestation crates, Novak questions whether such companies have considered what the switch will really cost them.

One reason gestation stalls are so ubiquitous is that they allow producers to minimize risks, such as the natural violent tendencies of sows. Novak says that, should animal welfare activists succeed in forcing agriculture to change, producers will have to offset the increase in logistical costs by increasing the price of their product, which may drive away consumers.