U.S. food distributor Atlantic Premium Brands Ltd. has set a deadline for its pork suppliers to eliminate the use of gestation-sow stalls at 2017, according to reports.

“Atlantic Premium takes animal welfare seriously, and wholeheartedly endorses the transition from gestation crates to group housing for pigs, which is the direction many of our pork suppliers are already moving,” said Thomas Dalton, president and CEO. Three of Atlantic Premium's clients, Kroger, Costco and Safeway, have all previously announced their own plans to give their suppliers a gestation-stall-free deadline.

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The Humane Society of the United States said they support Atlantic Premium's goal. “We welcome Atlantic Premium’s work to improve animal welfare in its supply chain, and are glad to see it joining the list of major food companies working with their pork suppliers to end the confinement of pigs in gestation crates,” said Matthew Prescott, Humane Society food policy director. “At a time when so many retailers are rising to the public’s demand for improved treatment of pigs, Atlantic Premium’s commitment is both ethical and a smart business move.”