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Animal Care, Environment, Food Safety & Quality

Our Response to HSUS SEC Complaint

We want to address any concerns you may have regarding accusations from the animal rights group, Humane Society of the United States. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with current facts so that you can make your own objective assessment of our efforts.

At the outset, I need to point out that HSUS’ accusations about our company not living up to its social responsibility commitments are misleading and baseless. Specifically, HSUS referred to our commitment to phase out gestation stalls, how we treat our animals and our new video series, Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production. Allow me to address each of these issues.

First, HSUS suggests that Smithfield has backed away from our stated goal of phasing out gestation stalls in favor of group housing at our company-owned sow farms by 2017, but nothing could be further from the truth.

While the dramatic economic downturn of three years ago temporarily slowed our efforts in phasing out gestation stalls, we steadfastly stood by our commitment to ultimately achieve this goal. Our commitment has never wavered, as evidenced by our progress in converting 30 percent of our sows to group housing by the end of 2011, and our commitment to spend more than $300 million to achieve our stated goal. I invite you to read about our progress at www.smithfieldcommitments.com.

Second, the well-being of all our animals is one of our highest priorities, which is why we consistently seek input from our customers, consumers like yourself, experts in animal husbandry, veterinarians and animal behavior specialists.  

We implement and monitor the practices at our farms through an industry-leading Animal Care Policy. This policy is more than just words—it articulates the principles and expectations to which we hold all employees accountable and guides the daily activities of all of our company-owned farms and those of our contract growers. In sum, we want our animals to be safe, comfortable, and healthy. Willful neglect or abuse of animals is not tolerated and will result in immediate termination. When mistakes are made or violations of our policies occur, we correct them.

Third, our website video series is not some slick production glossing over how pork is produced. The employees in the videos are real employees who were not scripted. They were told to express their own feelings about their jobs, and the work they do. And we could never have gotten renowned animal expert Dr. Temple Grandin to present the introduction to the videos if we had misrepresented the facts.

Beyond that, our concerted social responsibility efforts during the past decade have resulted in third-party recognition that we are very proud of. Most significantly, we were the first in our industry to achieve ISO 14001 environmental certification for all of our U.S. hog production and pork processing facilities. ISO 14001 is the international gold standard for environmental management. In addition, Smithfield Foods has been consistently named to FORTUNE magazine’s prestigious annual list of America’s Most Admired Companies. Companies are rated on eight criteria, from investment value to social responsibility.

At the same time, I need to underscore that we’re not saying that we’re perfect. We have made mistakes in the past, but we have learned from them and we have redoubled our efforts to behave in a socially responsible manner. This is a journey, but we believe we’re on the right track.

Because we are so passionate about doing the right thing, we welcome all who are interested in learning more about our company’s practices and commitments. We stand by the information we provide and our proven track record, which can all be found at www.smithfieldcommitments.com.

I hope this information addresses your concerns and that we take your opinions very seriously. Thank you for your interest in Smithfield Foods.  

Sincerely,

Dennis H. Treacy
Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs
and Chief Sustainability Officer 

Youtube Videos
Sow Farm--Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production at Smithfield Foods 8:00 Sow Farm--Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production at Smithfield Foods
Animal Care Videos

Sow Farm--Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production at Smithfield Foods

Piglets begin their life on a sow farm, a place for pregnant mother pigs and their newly born young. Watch the process from the beginning and see how we ensure our piglets and sows remain healthy and comfortable. _______________________________________ If you'd like to give feedback about our videos or have other comments you'd like to share with us, please feel free to contact us via our corporate website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter account, found at the links below. http://smithfieldfoods.com/ http://www.facebook.com/SmithfieldFoods http://twitter.com/SmithfieldFoods

Nursery Farm---Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production at Smithfield Foods 6:04 Nursery Farm---Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production at Smithfield Foods
Animal Care Videos

Nursery Farm---Taking the Mystery Out of Pork Production at Smithfield Foods

After being weaned, piglets are moved to a "nursery farm" until they weigh approximately 50 pounds. See what happens on a nursery farm, and some of the techniques we've adopted to ensure their health, comfort and safety. _______________________________________ If you'd like to give feedback about our videos or have other comments you'd like to share with us, please feel free to contact us via our corporate website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter account, found at the links below. http://smithfieldfoods.com/ http://www.facebook.com/SmithfieldFoods http://twitter.com/SmithfieldFoods

SEE MORE VIDEOS
Flickr Photos
Construction at a Smithfield farm in Waverly, VA as part of an effort to convert gestation stalls to group housing Farrowing area Conversion from gestation stalls to group housing at a Smithfield farm in Waverly, VA Pregnant sows in group housing pens at a Smithfield farm in Utah Progress being made at Waverly, VA farm as part of Smithfield Foods' transition to group housing pens Animal Care Committee Meeting Group housing pens for sows at a Smithfield farm in Milford, Utah
Animal Care Photos
Construction at a Smithfield farm in Waverly, VA as part of an effort to convert gestation stalls to group housing

Construction at a Smithfield farm in Waverly, VA as part of an effort to convert gestation stalls to group housing

Construction continues at a Murphy-Brown farm near Waverly, Virginia, as the company persists with its commitment to convert all of its gestation stalls for pregnant sows to group housing. Smithfield made a decision in 2007, in response to customer requests, to convert all its company-owned sow farms to group housing pens and 30% will be finished by the end of 2011.

Farrowing area

Farrowing area

Our animal care committee visited the farrowing area of one of our Midwestern farms. This is where sows give birth and raise piglets until they are 23 days old, when they are weaned. The bar you see here helps to ensure that the sow doesn't accidentally injure her piglets by lying down on them.

Conversion from gestation stalls to group housing at a Smithfield farm in Waverly, VA

Conversion from gestation stalls to group housing at a Smithfield farm in Waverly, VA

Murphy Brown employees at a farm in Waverly, Virginia, work on the conversion of a barn to group pens. Following customer requests, the company made a decision in 2007 to convert all its company-owned sow farms to group housing for pregnant sows - 30% of Smithfield's sows on company-owned farms will be in group housing by the end of 2011.

Pregnant sows in group housing pens at a Smithfield farm in Utah

Pregnant sows in group housing pens at a Smithfield farm in Utah

Pregnant sows at a Circle Four Farms facility near Milford, Utah, are housed in group pens. Circle Four Farms is a subsidiary of Murphy-Brown, the first hog production company to announce a complete phase-out of gestation stalls for pregnant sows at all company-owned farms.

Progress being made at Waverly, VA farm as part of Smithfield Foods' transition to group housing pens

Progress being made at Waverly, VA farm as part of Smithfield Foods' transition to group housing pens

Workers at a Murphy Brown farm near Waverly, Virginia work on the company’s conversion from gestation stalls for its pregnant sows to group housing. In 2007 the company made a decision, in response to customer requests, to convert all its company-owned farms to group housing - 30% of Smithfield's sows on company-owned farms will be in group housing by the end of 2011.

Animal Care Committee Meeting

Animal Care Committee Meeting

Our animal care committee is comprised of members from across our family of companies with varying areas of expertise related to animal care. They meet quarterly to discuss the care of animals on our farms and at our plants.

"Open Pen" Group Housing

One type of newly-converted gestation housing is called “pen gestation.” In this system, sows are housed in small groups in one communal area. You can see a sow here taking a drink—our sows have access to as much clean water as they choose at all times.

Group housing pens for sows at a Smithfield farm in Milford, Utah

Group housing pens for sows at a Smithfield farm in Milford, Utah

At a Circle Four Farms facility near Milford, Utah, pregnant sows are housed in group pens. Following customer requests, the company made a decision in 2007 to convert all its company-owned sow farms to group housing for pregnant sows. Circle Four Farms is a subsidiary of Murphy-Brown, the first hog production company to announce a complete phase-out of gestation stalls at all company-owned farms.

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