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Pork producers know best, says NPPC

by 5m Editor
9 May 2007, at 8:41am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - America’s pork producers recognise their moral obligation to provide for the well-being of their animals, and they raise pigs in a humane, compassionate and socially responsible manner. This was the National Pork Producers Council's response to a congressional subcommittee that has questioned welfare, housing systems and some prodcution techiques.

NPPC said that US pork industry has developed and implemented a number of programs to improve animal care and handling, including: the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) food-safety program; the Swine Welfare Assurance Program, an educational and assessment program that looks at 10 specific areas of animal care; and the Trucker Quality Assurance program for those who handle or transport market hogs. Next month, the industry will roll out the PQA Plus program, which includes producer certification, on-farm assessments of well-being practices and independent, third-party audits.

“There was no pressure to implement these programs other than our belief in doing the right thing for our pigs,” Barb Determan, a pork producer from Early, Iowa, and past president of NPPC, told the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry.

“I am proud to be part of an industry that – on its own – has developed and implemented world-class programs that help pork producers raise and care for their animals in a humane, compassionate and socially responsible manner.”

NPPC told the panel that the nation’s 67,000 pork producers oppose bills that would dictate on-farm production practices, including outlawing individual housing for sows, or that ban products such as antibiotics that help producers care for their pigs.

“We do not believe Congress has the understanding or the expertise to decide which on-farm animal production practices are best for our animals,” said Determan.

5m Editor