Olymel LP, the largest pork processor in Canada, which acquired its first on-the-ground presence in hog production in its acquisition of Big Sky Farms in January (Feedstuffs, Jan. 28), has announced plans to transition Big Sky from gestation stalls to group pens by 2022.
Big Sky is the second-largest hog producer in Canada.
In a statement, Olymel said it believes that an end of the use of gestation stalls "is inevitable in the medium and long term" and said Canada and the U.S. "must follow suit."
The company said an increasing number of domestic and international customers favor group pens, as do "numerous world renowned experts" in animal care and welfare.
Big Sky is headquartered in Humbolt, Sask., and has 42,000 sows and produces 1 million market hogs per year.
Olymel, headquartered in Montreal, Que., processes and distributes pork and poultry from its plants in Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick, which have a capacity to handle 160,000 hogs and 1.7 million chickens per week.
It sells pork and poultry products throughout Canada, the U.S., Australia, Japan and other countries and had 2012 sales that totaled $2.3 billion.