By Carol Neshevich
Riviere-du-Loup, Que.-based pork producer duBreton has announced its commitment to raising 300,000 more crate-free pigs by 2018.
Representing an investment of $30 million, this move is part of duBreton’s overall effort to be a world leader in organic and certified humane raised and handled pork, as well as an international role model for animal welfare and organic, GMO-free practices.
“Crate free” means that the pigs are allowed to roam in a communal environment with other pigs, as opposed to being constrained alone in small crates, which is a common practice throughout much of the pork industry right now.
DuBreton currently supplies its antibiotic-free and GMO-free pork to numerous recognized leaders and food innovators in the naturals and organic market, including Whole Foods, Sobeys, Longo’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill. The company expects consumer demand for higher standards for the ethical treatment of animals raised for consumption to continue gaining momentum in the coming years.
“DuBreton has been at the forefront of the humanely raised movement since the late 1990s, and this announcement simply solidifies and expands our commitment,” says Vincent Breton, president of duBreton. “Compared to commodity or traditional farming practices, it costs us 50-per-cent more to raise certified humane pork and more than double to raise an organic pig. The result is the highest-quality pork possible, and as this translates into only a slight increase at retail, we believe it is well worth the cost to preserve the dignity and respect of the animals in our care. Obviously, consumers agree as demand is outpacing supply in many markets where we trade.”
DuBreton first approached Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), the U.S.-based non-profit organization that grants the “certified humane” certification, in 2003 to begin the certification process. “Since then, duBreton has made great strides to expand on its certified humane properties and operations and we are proud to partner with this progressive leader,” says Adele Douglass, founding executive director of HFAC. “DuBreton truly cares about animal welfare and is changing farming industry standards.”