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NPPC Condemns Acts on Television Documentary

by 5m Editor
20 March 2009, at 9:14am

US - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has condemned cruelty to pigs as shown in a TV documentary in the US. The programme, entitled Death On A Factory Farm, was aired on HBO.

The documentary shows actions at a hog farm that are not condoned and, in fact, abhorred by responsible pork producers. The NPPC publicly condemned the mistreatment depicted in the documentary when it occurred in 2006. For the documentary’s producers to imply the situation shown in the film is in any way typical of swine husbandry in this country is grossly unfair to the farm families who work daily to feed this country and much of the world.

Providing humane and compassionate care for their pigs at every stage of life is one of the ethical principles to which responsible pork producers adhere. The mistreatment shown in the HBO documentary does not reflect the practices the pork industry follows in caring for its animals. Mistreatment of animals is appalling to pork producers just as it is to others. "We do not defend and will not accept such mistreatment," says the NPPC.

At NPPC’s 5-7 March 2009 annual meeting, pork producers reaffirmed the industry’s strong support for the well-being of its animals:

The US pork industry recognizes its moral and ethical obligation to provide for the responsible treatment of animals. Any willful mistreatment or neglect of animals is unacceptable; pork producers do not and will not defend those who choose to participate in the mistreatment of animals. The US pork industry takes animal well-being very seriously and has a history of developing programs that help train producers and their employees on proper animal care, handling and transporting procedures. The US pork industry affirms its obligation to act swiftly to end any mistreatment and to take immediate corrective actions to fully restore proper and responsible animal care.

No one has more on the line when it comes to responsible and ethical animal production than US pork producers. It is the job of each and every producer to demonstrate his or her commitment to continuous improvement and sound production practices. To this end, the “We Care” initiative was launched to promote the industry’s long-standing commitment to responsibility and improvement. The Statement of Ethical Principles and implementation of industry programs such as Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) and Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) are critical first steps in the “We Care” initiative. These care and handling education-certification programs for producers and their employees teach “Good Production Practices” for proper pig handling and transport.

The “We Care” initiative demonstrates to our customers and to the public that our responsible pork producers are dedicated to the production of safe, wholesome food while following acceptable animal well-being practices and safeguarding our natural resources.

US Pork Producers Have History of Responsible Pork Production

  • 1989 – Developed Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program to identify practices with the potential to result in a food safety hazard and to minimize that risk through producer education about relevant on-farm practices.

  • 2002 – Developed Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) program to educate personnel who transport hogs on the proper care and handling of animals during the loading, transporting and unloading processes.

  • 2003 – Developed Swine Welfare Assurance Program (SWAP) to assess the well-being of pigs during all phases of production.

  • 2007 – Developed Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus),, a continuous improvement program that helps producers measure, track and continuously improve animal well-being. The program includes “10 Good Production Practices,” on-farm assessments of animal well-being and random third-party audits of production practices. Producers who complete the program are certified.

  • 2008 - Launched “We Care,” a responsible pork initiative that includes Ethical Principles for US Pork Producers. The principles include pork producers’ obligation to protect and promote animal well-being by:
    • Providing feed, water and an environment that promotes animal well-being.
    • Providing proper care, handling and transportation for pigs at each stage of life.
    • Protecting pig health and providing appropriate treatment, including veterinary care, when needed.
    • Using approved practices to euthanise, in a timely manner, those sick or injured pigs that fail to respond to care and treatment.

  • 2009 – Urged that all pork producers become PQA Plus certified and participate in PQA Plus on-farm assessments and that all animal transporters become TQA certified.