By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Animal rights groups are welcoming this week's announcements by two meat companies that call for producers to treat hogs being raised for slaughter more humanely.
Tyson Foods issued new animal welfare guidelines to its 3,000 independent hog suppliers Wednesday, urging improved housing conditions for gestating sows. A day earlier, Smithfield Foods announced it was asking growers to move pregnant sows from gestation crates to group housing by 2022.
The actions follow years of lobbying and protest by animal welfare groups, who argued that keeping pregnant sows in narrow, often-foul stalls was the equivalent of institutionalized animal abuse.
Animal rights groups lauded the changes, saying the moves represent "a dramatic step forward" in how animals are viewed and treated by processing companies like Tyson and Smithfield.Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.