Papa John's announced today that it will join other major restaurant chains in working to eliminate controversial gestation crates from its supply chain. The cages, used to confine breeding pigs, have been criticized in recent years by animal welfare advocates and the food industry alike.

Papa John's wrote on its website: "We support the industry move away from traditional gestation crates and are encouraging our suppliers to explore alternative pregnant sow housing options. We will seek suppliers who adopt a plan to implement this practice."

This announcement is welcomed by The Humane Society of the United States, said Kristie Middleton, food policy manager for The HSUS.

"We welcome Papa John's move to join its peers in the food industry in addressing one of the most critical animal welfare issues in food production today. Papa John's support for the elimination of pig cages from its supply chain supports the food industry's view of gestation crates as unsustainable and inhumane," she said.

Similar announcements made recently by Oscar Mayer, McDonald's, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Quiznos and nearly 60 other leading food companies signal a reversal in a three-decade-old trend in the pork industry that leaves most breeding pigs confined day and night in gestation crates during their four-month-long pregnancies. This confinement system has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers and others, according to the HSUS.

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