It is always great news when a New Canaan business institutes a new policy that helps animals. That's the case with Bruegger's Bagels at 11 South Ave. The company's management has recently agreed to eliminate controversial gestation crates -- cages used to confine breeding pigs -- from its pork supply chain. Bruegger's Bagels joins a growing list of major food companies including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Oscar Mayer, among others to address this issue.

"Bruegger's Bagels cares deeply about creating a more humane and sustainable world," said David Austin, Bruegger's president. "To that end, we're proud to announce that we're working with our pork suppliers to eliminate gestation crates within our supply chain, and we recognize it could take up until 2022 to achieve this goal."

Mr. Austin is to be commended for this move, which will have an impact on all his stores throughout the country.

The inhumane practice of confining pigs day and night in gestation crates during their four-month pregnancy has come under fire from veterinarians, farmers, animal scientists and consumers. The poor animals are placed in cages roughly the size of their bodies and can't even turn around. The pigs are then transferred to another crate to give birth, re-impregnated, and put back into a gestation crate. This cruel process is repeated over and over again for the entire life of the animal, resulting in years of virtual immobilization.

Nine states have passed laws to ban the gestation crate confinement of mother pigs. Leading pork producers Smithfield and Hormel have also pledged to end the use of gestation crates at their company-owned facilities by 2017. More and more businesses are coming to the realization that gestation crates have no place in the pork industry's future.

So head down to Bruegger's Bagels for a cup of coffee and a bagel and say thank you for this wonderful action on its part in taking the first step to end animal cruelty by giving pigs a better life. It may seem like a small thing, but it indicates that this is a business that cares about how animals are treated and we should do everything to support its efforts.

Cathy Kangas is the founder and CEO of PRAI Beauty, a global luxury skincare line sold throughout the world on home shopping networks. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States and through Beauty With a Cause, supports animal welfare groups across the globe. Cathy lives in New Canaan with her husband and three rescued dogs, and can be reached at cathy@praibeauty.com.

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