US: Initiative promotes animal well-being
Reaffirming its strong commitment to animal care and well-being, the National Pork Producers Council this week joined with the National Pork Board, the dairy industry and the Center for Food Integrity – a not-for-profit corporation that builds consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system – to launch an initiative to encourage the immediate reporting of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm.
The “See It? Stop It!” initiative provides tools for farms to affirm that proper animal care is the responsibility of all employees and that animal abuse is not acceptable or tolerated. Farm workers will be encouraged to report abuse.
“Animal well-being always has been the top priority of pork producers,” said NPPC president Randy Spronk, a producer from Edgerton, Minn. “The ‘See It? Stop It!’ initiative confirms that commitment and is a way to let animal caretakers know that it’s their moral responsibility to speak up to stop any animal abuse.”
In fact, as a condition of employment, many pork operations require workers to sign policy documents that confirm their roles and responsibilities for animal care, including the reporting of any animal abuse they witness. Such policies usually include disciplinary action, including termination, for failure to report abuse.
The initiative is an adjunct to the pork industry’s “We Care” program, which promotes pork producers’ long-standing commitment to responsible pork production and to continuous improvement in animal care, handling and transportation. It also bolsters the Pork Quality Assurance® (PQA) Plus® program, which outlines best practices for proper animal care, and the Transport Quality Assurance program, which certifies people who transport hogs in proper care and handling methods.
“I’ve been a pork producer for a long time, and I know for a fact that the overwhelming majority of producers and farm workers do what’s right for their animals every single day of the year,” Spronk said. “This initiative is more proof of that and of producers’ adherence to ethical principles, including protecting and promoting animal well-being.”
Both the US pork and dairy industries provided funding for the initiative. Additional information about it, including an employer checklist, guidance for integrating the initiative into existing animal well-being programs, posters for use in barns and guidance on employee training is available at www.SeeItStopIt.org
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