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.”
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
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