DES MOINES, Iowa(NPB) — The National Pork Board disagrees with the portrayal of pork production shown in a video produced by Mercy for Animals and released last week.
The National Pork Board and the pig farmers of America have a deep commitment and responsibility to the welfare of the animals we raise. "Pig farmers have a strong track record of animal husbandry practices that have been developed with the help of research on what is best for the animal. And as an industry, we are always seeking to improve those practices," said Conley Nelson, a farmer and pig-production executive from Algona, Iowa, who also is president of the National Pork Board. "Christensen Farms has always exemplified that commitment and we support their efforts to further investigate this video to ensure the farm's employees and practices remain at the standards we all expect."
An independent panel of scientists and ethicists who reviewed the video concluded there were no signs of animal abuse or neglect.
"Raising animals for food is not an easy job, but it's one we are passionate about. It is also complicated," Conley said. "Rather than basing judgments on a grainy, heavily edited video , we urge consumers to seek out more information. For example, many of the practices shown in this latest hidden camera video are described in great detail in two videos on our website, A Good End for Pigs and Castration and Tail Docking of Piglets."
"Animal care can be a personal and emotional issue for many consumers-particularly when presented through a video that is designed to stimulate a negative reaction. The way that we raise pigs today, however, has evolved as we've worked to improve food safety, environmental protection, and animal care. These principles should continue to guide any decision made about the best way to care for our animals."
"While top veterinary experts confirm that the methods we use today are scientifically sound and humane, we know that we must continue working to improve the way that we raise and care for our animals. We have invested millions of farmer checkoff dollars into improving animal welfare-including evaluating new sow housing options and more humane methods of euthanasia. We urge those companies and organizations that care about improving animal welfare to join us in this important initiative."
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.