The causes of Chipotle's pork problem have been revealed.
Last week the restaurant chain announced that pork items would be off the menu at one-third of its locations, citing concerns of animal mistreatment by one of its main meat suppliers. Now an industry insider has revealed to NPR's All Things Considered that the farm in question violated company standards by using farrowing crates and slatted floors - technologies that make life easier for farmers and hell for pigs.
Chipotle has not publicly disclosed what violations led the company to ditch the supplier, but here's what we know about these two widely-used cruelties of factory farming.
Farrowing crates, like controversial gestation crates used to keep pregnant sows contained, are stark metal cages intended to limit the movement of pigs - in this case, those who are nursing their newborns. For weeks at a time, female pigs are held in close confinement, unable to roll over or stretch their legs while their offspring feed.
Although these crates are seen as a way to limit accidental injury and death to fragile piglets by their mothers (in turn increasing farm production), animal welfare supporters say that problem can be avoided by simply giving the pigs more space.