At the Iowa and Minnesota Pork Congress, Hormel met with producers who supply live hogs to their slaughter plants. At the meetings they rolled out their new animal care guidelines that will become mandatory on September 1. For a majority of the producers the guidelines reinforce practices they have already implemented on-farm as a result of PQA+ and TQA enrollment. The important item of this program is that the implementation will be audited by an independent 3rd party to verify application of the guidelines. This audit will be in addition to the auditing process that National Pork Board has in place for their PQA+ SWAP assessments.
Hormel has been the subject of intense animal welfare (some would say animal rights) pressure with several of its suppliers being the subject of clandestine videos. Not all of the video footage showed animal cruelty and instead showed normal production practices that the industry deems in the best interest of the pig such as gestation crates. However, the vocal minority led by PETA, Mercy for Animals, HSUS, etc. has been very aggressive in their efforts to get slaughter plants to put in place minimum ‘standards’ of animal care.