There is some pretty amazing news afoot in the animal welfare world. Food giant Nestlé has just announced that they will phase out not just one form of institutionalized animal abuse…but the top FIVE, across its global supply chains!

So what exactly does this mean?

As you may know, there are many forms of blatant animal abuse that the agriculture industry allows because they conform to “industry standards.” This includes painfully dehorned cows, docking the tails of pigs, and castrating animals all without the use of painkillers. Further, animals are crammed into cages so tiny, they never get the chance to even turn around for their entire lives. To top it all off, they are crammed with growth hormones and antibiotics to fight off all natural resistance to these conditions. Sounds pretty bad, huh?

When you take a look at what life is like inside a factory farm, calling it a living hell seems gracious. But, while these practices are technically legal, thanks to loopholes in the Animal Welfare Act, for animals that turn a profit, it does not mean that corporations HAVE to abide by them.

Thanks to a number of undercover investigations that have revealed the heinous abuse wrought on dairy cows used in Nestlé’s supply chain, Nestlé has decided to step up and end the flagrant abuse that occurs on their watch.

Change is coming!

Matt Rice, director of investigations at Mercy for Animals, calls this plan, “the most comprehensive and far-reaching animal welfare policy of its kind.” 

Nestlé is planning to eliminate the use of gestation crates for pigs, veal crates for calves, battery cages for egg-laying hens, end the use of rapid growth hormones, and even end the practice of dehorning, tail docking, and castration without the use of painkillers. Whew! That’s a lengthy list!

As Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States comments, “[the plan] builds on the enormous momentum we have created for moving away from the intensive confinement of animals on factory farms and marks new progress on issues related to the routine mutilation of animals.”

In addition to phasing out these cruel practices, Nestlé will also add Meatless Monday promotions on their Lean Cuisine packaging to encourage consumers to join the movement.

Nestlé is an industry GIANT, and their action has been welcomed with open arms by animal rights groups and consumers alike. But, this is not to say the fight for animals is over. Nestlé is striking the first match on inordinate cruelty in factory farms, but it will take many more to reduce industry standards to dust.

Nestlé has put the pressure on, but now it’s up to you to encourage other corporations to do the same. Click here to sign MFA’s petition to Walmart, and here to McDonald’s urging both to phase out cruel gestation crates and battery cages.

And don’t forget…the most powerful weapon against cruelty to farm animals is our food choices. Just reduce or eliminate your consumption of animal products and eat more plant-based foods. It’s that simple!