Farmers, grab some Domino’s this weekend

The closest Domino’s Pizza store is not so close — 33.8 miles from my home, to be exact. But if consumers talk with their dollars, I think it just might be worth the trip this weekend.

For a long time, the shrewd Humane Society of the United States has targeted shareholders as one of its tactics to forcing a company to embrace HSUS stands. At Domino’s annual shareholders’ meeting April 25, HSUS challenged the pizza chain’s source of pork, saying the company supports “extreme confinement of pigs.”

“Domino’s allows its suppliers to confine pigs in crates so small they can’t even turn around for nearly their entire lives,” said Kristie Middleton, food policy manager for HSUS, in a prepared news statement.

HSUS bought stock in Domino’s in 2010, according to one published report.

Previously, HSUS submitted a shareholder resolution asking the company to report on the feasibility of getting pork only from producers who don’t use gestation crates.

According to the digital media company annarbor.com, 80 percent of Domino’s shareholders rejected the resolution, and only 4 percent voted for it (remaining shareholders abstained).

In its proxy report, the Domino’s board recommended voting against the proposal, saying, “We rely on established industry experts and the USDA to determine best practices in this area, and will continue to do so.”

The statement did note that the largest of its pork suppliers purchases pork only from farms that meet the National Pork Board’s Quality Assurance Plus program guidelines for both food safety and animal well-bring.

“According to published studies,” the proxy statement continues, “the most important factor to the animal is the individual care given to each animal and the caretaker’s management and husbandry skills, regardless of the system used.”

Bravo!

Here’s the thing: Yes, stall systems restrict movement, but as the American Veterinary Medical Association says, group housing allows “aggressive and competitive behaviors that could be detrimental to individual sows.” Bottom line is we need to take a close look at sow housing systems, support research, and then be willing to switch management practices, if we find a system that is better for the animals.

Regardless of opinions on sow housing, what this example really illustrates is the smooth strategy that HSUS employs to promote its vegan and vegetarian philosophy. They are smart. They know how to influence corporations and whip up publicity, all in the name of animal welfare, when all they really want to do to end meat production, period.

Agriculture needs to remain vigilant and tell its story in all arenas, too. We need to take some pages from the HSUS playbook.

And we need to speak up with our dollars. That’s why it’s worth my 30-mile trip to buy a Domino’s pizza this weekend.

If you’re in east-central Ohio, there’s one in Warren, Ravenna, Garrettsville, Kent, Canton, Toronto, Streetsboro. Nearby in Pennsylvania, there’s a Domino’s Pizza in New Castle, Sharon, Ellwood City. In other areas, you can visit www.dominos.com and find the pizzeria closest to you.

Go buy a pizza or two or three, and leave a note for the manager or store owner, saying you appreciate their support of science-based decisions regarding animal care and husbandry. (Visit this column online, and we’ll have a link to a .pdf thank-you flier that you can print out and take with you.)

If you’re on Facebook, there’s a public event you can also join to indicate your support (search for “Ag Pizza Party,” or “The Truth About Agriculture”). And it wouldn’t hurt to voice your support on Domino’s Facebook page, either.

And continue your support, because HSUS has said it will be back in front of shareholders again next year.


By Susan Crowell

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

4 Comments

  1. Wes Maxwell says:

    I am hungry all of a sudden now…

  2. Great article. Thanks for the links. I’ll be eating Domino’s pizza this weekend. I just downloaded Domino’s highly rated iPhone app so I can find it wherever I am and order it easily. I will also leave positive reviews of Domino’s on YellowPages.com.

  3. KAren says:

    I am curious as to who the experts are in the aforementioned quote “We rely on established industry experts and the USDA to determine best practices in this area, and will continue to do so”.

    While I believe that many, many farmers, either raising pigs and hogs indoors or outdoors do not abuse and neglect them, it is those that do – whether it be a massive factory farm or a small farm – that I would like to see stopped. If animals are to be consumed by humans, shouldn’t they at least be honored since they are giving up their lives for you? I was raised on a farm and realize that sows in particular are not the cute shiny piglets that they start out as. Aggressive behavior and “unmotherly” behavior are definitely things that must be managed. But force, and abuse are not good management strategies. Also, slaughter and butchering are, literally, horrific acts, and it is also then,that I wish more humane methods were employed by ALL.

    Here is a quandary — one that puts categorical generalizing into the mix on both sides of the issue: From my perspective it seems that in the case of Domino’s, and their supporters, the moral, ethical, and humane treatment of animals is a “decision” that they want others (“experts”) to make. So, if the USDA deems that it is UNFIT for animals to be confined to crates with limited-to-no mobility and to NOT be abused beyond any degree of decent humane treatment, then you will suddenly support that decision?

    In that case, what will “poor” Domino’s do with all the pizza that contains the flesh of abused and horribly neglected and terrorized animals? Since the support is unanimous (e.g. no distinction between good and humane farmers versus the alternative) it is challenging to support them as their decision seems narrow-minded and self-serving.

  4. Carol Ann Gregg says:

    We are on our way to our nearest Domino’s Pizza Shop to get supper. We will be giving them the flyer and a copy of this article for them.

    Thanks for making us aware.

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