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Posted on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Domino's shareholders reject Humane Society request regarding confined pigs

By Cindy Heflin

Domino’s Pizza shareholders Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected a request to study ending the use of pork from suppliers who confine pregnant pigs in crates.

Some fast-food companies, including Burger King, McDonald's and Wendy's have pledged to phase out the use of pork from such suppliers.


Gestation crates are used to confine pregnant sows.

Photo from Humane Society

Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre said the vote was 80 percent against the resolution, from the Humane Society of the United States, and 4 percent in favor. The holders of the remaining 16 percent of shares abstained, McIntyre said.

The resolution called for the company to prepare a report on the feasibility of ensuring that its pepperoni and ham come from producers that don’t use “gestation crates” to confine breeding pigs.

Shareholders at the Ann Arbor-based company voted in accordance with a recommendation from the company’s Board of Directors, which in a response to the resolution, said the issue should be addressed with pork producers and suppliers, not customers. The company also noted that it had provided similar information to that requested in the resolution in answer to a question at last year's shareholder meeting.

Despite the resolution’s failure, the Humane Society was happy with the vote, said Matthew Prescott, food policy director for the organization. Garnering 3 percent of the vote in favor of the resolution means the organization can bring it back again next year, he said.

“By next year Domino’s management will be hard-pressed to continue to ignore this,” he said. He noted that Burger King Wednesday joined McDonald’s and Wendy’s in pledging to stop using pork from producers that use the crates.

“I think it’s remarkable that 4 percent of all Domino’s shareholders feel so strongly about this issue that they’re willing to vote in favor of this resolution," he added.

The use of the gestation crates — which confine pregnant sows and prevent them from turning around — has come under fire in the past few years. Michigan and seven other states have passed laws restricting their use. Compass Group, the world’s largest food service company, has joined the fast food restaurants in pledging to phase out the practice from their supply chains.

In 2010, the society bought stock in Domino's and last fall submitted a shareholder resolution asking the company to report on the feasibility of ensuring its pepperoni and ham comes from producers that don’t use gestation crates.

McIntyre said Domino’s is monitoring the issue. “We are paying attention to what McDonald's and Burger King are doing and this is not a company that is holding its collective hand to its ears or to its eyes,” he said.

The company’s proxy statement notes that its pork suppliers use animals from farms “that use a variety of animal management systems, including from farms that do not use gestation stalls.” It also says the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians have published statements indicating there are advantages and disadvantages to both cage-free and caged pork production methods.

“We rely on animal experts to determine what is the best way to raise an animal that’s being used for food,” McIntyre said.



Wed, May 2, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

I applaud Domino's for basing their decision on science and not misconceptions placed by HSUS. I for one will support companies that make sound business decisions and not be impacted by animal activists deep pockets. Those of us who produce the food that feeds the world are really tired of being targets that we are all abusing animals. We utilize the most humane practices to produce food. Are there bad people in our industry? Of course, there are bad people in every industry, but they are the exception not norm. What I really wished people would do is look at the real story about HSUS. They spend less than 1/2 of 1% of their billion dollar budget to actually help animals. The rest is spent on salaries and lobbyists. Why should they hold any credibility. Good job Domino's. I wished McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King would wake up as well.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

This event like many other is over hyped to support a small group of people. But I ask why should we all be burdened with higher food cost if we don't agree with a small portion of people?


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

I am very interested in where my food comes from. I hate animal abuse - people who abuse animals are sick individuals and lesser people in my book. I have watched video after video of animal abuse and it makes me sick to my stomach to see how these animals are treated in these videos. However, I have been around production agriculture all my life. I grew up on a small 'free range' family dairy farm. I have stayed up late at night nursing an animal back to health, putting feed in her mouth, asking her to live. We would hold nothing back and would spare no expense to provide that animal the right medical treatment for her to continue living a happy productive life. Now I work on a 6000 animal dairy and manage 25 employees. Strange right? The practices have not changed, the morals remain the same. The only difference is now we have people that specialize in one thing and one thing only - the health and well being of the animals. You may say that I just do this to maximize profit, and you are partially right. A dead cow makes no money and an abused, scared, or uncomfortable cow makes no money either. Did I mention we also have people that specialize just in keeping the cows in a comfortable environment? Were we able to control all these things on our small family farm? No. Are the ethics and morals applied to the cows any different? No. I have never been deeply involved in swine production. I won't pretend like I know all the answers. What I do know is that these people are no different than me and you. They have ethics, morals, goals, hopes and dreams. How can we ostracize them for protecting their young, innocent, fragile animals of the next generation from getting smothered by a careless mother - a simple mistake? I simply ask my fellow consumers for an open mind and a clean slate. The things you see on the TV and internet are the 1% of what happens on America's farms - not the 99%. I want to give you the best product that I can that you will savor and enjoy.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

A nice little piece of sarcasm. You really had me goin for a second there.

Angie Boesche

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Good job Dominos. You should always leave it to the experts and not emotions from people who do not know what is best for the animal. I've seen the way HSUS wants pigs raised and it is far worse than gestation crates. People don't often know that pigs ruthlessly beat each other up and compete for food when housed together. There's one housing option that allows pigs to choose to go into the crate or into the group pen when they want. I think that would be a good compromise.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

So you are congratulating Domino's for not compromising, and then you advocate a compromise in your last sentence? Got it.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

I wonder how many people ask their grocery store how the pork is raised before they buy it.

Linda Peck

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Shareholders of Dominos, I will not buy any Dominos products again ever.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Silvio's Organic Pizzeria is the only way I roll.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

It's incredible that any company or consumer still supports these kinds of "farming" practices.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

Undesirable "pizza", questionable business practices, and undesirable politics.... While their "pizza" seems to have improved a little over the years, it still seems that Domino's is still the gold standard of the lowest-grade, most tasteless "pizza." For all of the other comparably priced choices, it is easy to order from another place.... As I concluded decades ago, Domino's at least picked an appropriate company name. One that I Do-Mi-NOS! to....


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

Good for Domino's. I think I will order the meat feast!


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

oh boy! Here we go with THIS one!


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Domino's is not a local company. It started locally, but it is an international chain. And even truly local companies that source all of their products from GFS and Sysco aren't truly living up to the principles of buying locally. What good does it do to eat at a restaurant that pays its workers minimum wage and sends most of their money into the industrial food system, just because the owners happen to live nearby? Support local companies that support local companies. The Ugly Mug gets their milk from Calder Dairy. Corner Brew gets some of their meat from Steinhauser Farm. The Ypsi Food Co-Op gets most of their meat, dairy, produce, and tons of other products from local and Michigan producers. Gestational crates are just one example of the disgusting and inhumane conditions of industrial meat production. Getting rid of them is worse than doing nothing if it placates liberals into thinking they can ethically support Burger King or the like.

Angie Boesche

Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Did you know that when given the option pigs will choose to be in a gestation crate rather than in a group pen? Sows are often nasty to each other and beat each other up. I'm all for alternative housing practices but what HSUS wants is worse than what's in place now. Dominos is just trying to leave it to people who know what their doing rather than definitely cause animals harm and raise the cost of their food.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 11 p.m.

@FaitnInYpsi........I stand corrected


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Sorry...but Ypsi stores are not corporate and have not been for years.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

Michigan Reader....just a FYI Ypsilanti stores are corporate.Tom took Ann Arbor's stores from the ( local ) Belknaps and made them corporate.IDK maybe things have changed.Even so MOST owners are local to the area they live

Michigan Reader

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Corporate is local. The VAST vast majority of stores are licencees, owned by independent business people. Not Domino's.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Joe...Their world headquarters is here,how much more local can that get ? is there a certain size or dollar limit when a company stops being " local "?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

I'd say that Domino's should be using pastured pork, which would eliminate the need for gestation crates, but the Michigan DNR is collaborating with the MPPA (factory farm lobby) to destroy small family pastured pig farmers so that bit of fascism needs to be attended to first.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 4:47 a.m.

Yea, because having pigs in pasture is MUCH better for them in the summer heat and cold winters, don't forget the manure goes directly into the water runoff when they are not fighting with each other or cannibalizing their young. Try thinking about all of the facts, not just the emotions a few people try to sell so they can make money from scaring you with fiction.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Ok so can someone name any pizza company that does not use pork raised that way ? I always love the people who constantly yell " BUY LOCAL ! " but want to boycott a business that's who's first store was in Ypsi and their first franchise's were in Ann Arbor.And let's not forget that almost a mile long building that employs thousands of people.And what about those 100's of local people who work at the individual local locations.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

@jcd91....according to their website they have 5 stores in Michigan.So no it is not comparing apples to apples.If you really think for a second they employ as many people in this area as Domino's well then there's nothing I can say


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Yes, Whole Foods. The meat they sell (including their pizza toppings) adheres to 5-step animal welfare rating standards. I would bet their profit and the number of locals they hire would be comparing apples to apples, tdw. So, this is the most humane choice to make, other than trying one of their vegan pies.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Joe....Corner Brewery doe's not do close to a Billion dollars in sales a year and employ 1000's of locals.Perhaps you don't see the difference but I do.That's called comparing apples to oranges. As a side comment I bet the boycott people are the same ones that were " boycotting " Big Sky Diner ( even though most have never been there ,don't even know where it is, and never go east of Carpenter ) because Herman Cain spoke there.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

I'm not sure about all of their meat ingredients, but I know that Corner Brewery gets bratwursts and the beef for their burgers from a local, humane farmer. Just ask local restaurants what they use and try to get them to change their practices if you don't agree with them. Domino's is a chain, even if it started locally, so there's nothing you can do to change their practices. Buying local means supporting companies that still embrace the principles of local, small enterprise, not national chains, no matter where they began.

E Claire

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Exactly. They all use them and the people hurt by a boycott are not the people who have any say in this. I'll bet most of the people posting here are doing so on phones and computers made by HUMAN BEINGS in Asia who kill themselves due to the horrible working conditions. No one is boycotting Apple products though.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Another reason to not eat this awful pizza.

The Black Stallion3

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Ask yourself........What would the president do? Not, what would you do.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

I always had stomach issues after eating anything from Domino's. There are sooo many other pizzeria's out there that make a better product.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Really? You mean a bunch of capitalists don't care about anything but the dirty greasy dollar? Man, paradigm shift....

The Black Stallion3

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

Enso.........your credibility is shot


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Sows are kept in crates to prevent them from smothering their young on accident. Some would call it inhumane not to use them.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

@aawolve: You are making a lot of assumptions that all industrial growers are using the same "inhumane" crates. There are many types of crates just as there are many ways to raise a pig. Outlawing all crates as "inhumane" is a blanket statement that needs research because it just isn't true. "The industry" isn't denying it because there are some benefits to crates. People tend to think very rigidly about issues they don't have a lot of experience with when all of the facts aren't presented. Things aren't either right or wrong; there's a lot of gray.


Fri, Apr 27, 2012 : 5:33 a.m.

@rainy- That may be how it is done on small farms, but this issue is about industrial farms. It is easy to find this information: The industry doesn't even deny what it is, they just say it's ok. Years in a pen unable to move around is no way to live for anything.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Yes, and I can turn around in a medium sized dog carrier. It's a tight fit, but not impossible.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

They are not kept in crates for years and years, only for the amount of time that their piglets are small and have a hard time getting out of the way. Also, I've seen pigs turn around in the crates. It is a tight fit, but not impossible. Typical media reaction to everything is to blow it out of proportion. Quite believing the hype.

The Black Stallion3

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Enso the expert.....?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

That is an interesting piece of propaganda, to say the least. Sows need to be kept in cages for several years, without even enough room to turn around, to protect their young? Who are the "some" who would call not using them inhumane? I'm sincerely curious about this "some."


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

No they're not. They are kept in crates because it's the most 'efficient' way to get the 'product' out. There is no thought of humanity in the factory farm industry.

Nature lover

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Hopefully there will be a nationwide social media campaign to stop buying their products. The only way this company will change if it hits them in their pocketbooks. They don't give a hoot about animals....just the money that flows in.


Sat, Apr 28, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

The ironic part about this post is that organizations like HSUS, PETA & others take in millions of dollars of donations and hire lawyers, social media, advertisers, and publicist to marginalize the public. But use less than ~<3% of the donations to "help" animals. So WHO IS IT that "don't give a hoot about animals…. just the money that flows in." Who do you work for?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 11:23 a.m.

CAFO operators claim the crates are needed so they can confine thousands of animals into as little space as possible. The pigs become extremely agitated in these conditions and panic. The pregnant sows are kept confined so they don't lose the next generation in a fight. ALL the pigs are under intense stress at all times. So the crates are needed to maintain this hideous and unnecessary system. Change the system, no need for the crates. If you want the system changed, stop buying industrial pork. No need for Domino's when there are lots of great pizza options in town. Those who buy free-range pork will make that known and you can take your business there. It's too bad that an Ann Arbor company couldn't have been the leader on humane treatment instead of the one that has to be the Goldman Sachs of pizza.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

I don't eat Dominos pizza. But when I do order a pizza, it's vegetarian/no meat. I think everyone should consider buying their pizzas from somewhere else, or better yet, eat meatless pizza.

Jeffersonian Liberal

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 9:44 a.m.

Typical knee jerk reaction from a bunch of brain dead lib's. Unless you've worked on a farm you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Oh wait, that never stop's progressives from telling people how to run their business. Nice attempt at journalism.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

@ justcurious - ummm.... a lot of small farms with just a few pigs use crates. It is widely accepted to be humane so that the sows don't smother their babies and the crates aren't used for prolonged periods of time - just until the piglets are big enough to run when the sow decides to lay down. Please go visit a farm and check it out, unless you are afraid to get your feet a little muddy. Domino's is right not to cower because a few uneducated people don't like fences that they don't understand. Some folks are too busy telling people what to do instead of actually doing something.

The Black Stallion3

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

I think Fox News would be a good start for some people to get back on the right track......try it, you may like it.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Take it to fox news. They know everything over there too.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

Protip: There is no apostrophe in "Libs."


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Well, I guess we can figure out what type of farm you worked on huh?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 4:59 a.m.

A lot of other pizza options besides Domino's around here, but do they get their meat from distributors who don't do this?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

Write their corporate office and tell them you are boycotting, and why:


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

What a bunch of hypocrites -- them having started the petting farm and the free range buffalos. I've never ordered Domino's pizza, having tried it once. I've also made a point to call and complain about their putting people out on corners and humiliating themselves in terrible weather -- either extremely hot or frigid cold -- with signs advertising specials. I never see this happen in fine weather. Just watch the movie "Babe" to understand the practice described in this article.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Do you watch Bambi during deer hunting season also?


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

You get your facts from the movie "Babe"? This is scary. Please go to a real farm and talk to a real farmer about why they do it. Hollywood and the media like to blow things out of proportion. Go to the source.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

I'll continue to boycott their products happily.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

After this and their new ad campaign that states "you can't add or remove toppings from their specialty pizzas" I think I'll just get my money back from that groupon I ordered a few weeks ago.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

"Domino's Pizza shareholders Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected a request to study ending the use of pork from suppliers who confine pregnant pigs in crates." It's simple for me...reject Domino's....That won't be hard because I haven't had Domino's food in over 30 years anyway.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

Sorry Domino's! Won't be ordering pizza from you again.

mike gatti

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

Take your dough to Bella Italia.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

While I am not a vegetarian I am concerned that the animals kept for our consumption be treated humanely. There is no excuse except greed for a decision to treat the animals we breed with disregard for their needs. Sows kept in gestation crates literally go mad. No excuses. Shame on the shareholders. I say make their stock and dividends hurt - stop ordering.


Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Two companies to say who cares to, Domino's has boring pizza and the HSUS isn't really a humane society. Instead, I go with Cottage Inn, or Pizza House...and a real humane society, Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Apr 26, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Give one of Domino's artisan pizzas a try. They're really well-made and tasty.


Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

We can vote with our pizza orders.

Ron Granger

Wed, Apr 25, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

Domino's... I ordered from them once in the late 80's. Sounds like it's the same as it ever was. Did they mention their Pink Slime policy?