'See It? Stop It!' empowers producers and employees

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click image to zoomSee It Stop it The National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board, the dairy industry and the Center for Food Integrity are promoting animal well-being through a new initiative to encourage immediate reporting of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm.

The “See It? Stop It!” is a proactive demonstration of agriculture’s commitment to farm animal care. The initiative provides tools for farms to affirm that proper animal care is the responsibility of all employees, and that animal abuse will be neither accepted nor tolerated. It confirms the culture of care that farm owners and managers demand of every person who comes in contact with their animals. In addition, it will:

  • Highlight the integrity of the farm’s philosophies on responsible animal care
  • Help staff understand their important role in animal protection
  • Provide clear direction on how to report instances of animal abuse, neglect, harm or mishandling

Randy SpronkRandy Spronk “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.”

See it? Stop it! is not an animal care program or a certification program. It is a directive that requires immediate action if an employee suspects or witnesses animal abuse, neglect, harm or mishandling.

Hog The initiative encourages and empowers individuals working with or around animals to immediately report any signs of deliberate animal abuse, neglect, harm or mishandling to a supervisor or other individual responsible for enforcement of proper animal care, to ensure the concern is heard and addressed.

Though uncommon on farms, when animal abuse, neglect, harm or mishandling occurs, it is essential to give animal care providers an opportunity to swiftly report what they have witnessed. See it? Stop it! gives the tools to encourage and empower individuals working with or around animals to immediately report any signs of deliberate animal abuse, neglect, harm or mishandling without retribution.

“As the nation’s oldest animal protection organization, the American Humane Association (AHA) has a long history of involvement with programs that help assure proper animal care,” said Kathi Brock, National Director of the Farm Animal Program for AHA. “It is critical for farm management to set clear expectations for animal care and to have zero tolerance for animal mistreatment. We believe ‘See It? Stop It!’ provides the tools to help set those expectations and a mechanism for reporting abuse which supports the proper care of America’s farm animals.”

The initiative encourages and empowers individuals working with or around animals to immediately report any signs of deliberate animal abuse, neglect, harm or mishandling to a supervisor or other individual responsible for enforcement of proper animal care, to ensure the concern is heard and addressed.

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.

See it? Stop it! 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.”

The initiative demonstrates to the public that farmers are committed to good animal care and calls on anyone who witnesses abuse to stop it immediately, including those who are on farms to videotape animal production activities. Stopping and reporting abuse quickly is the right thing to do for animals, and it demonstrates that those involved in livestock production understand their obligation to provide sound animal care. This commitment is important to maintaining public trust in today’s animal agriculture.

“Those in agriculture are understandably frustrated by undercover videos. The actions of a few captured on video can taint public perception of the entire livestock community. Taking action to stop abuse demonstrates a genuine commitment to do what’s right for the animals on farms,” says Roxi Beck of the Center for Food Integrity, which is a not-for-profit corporation established to build consumer trust and confidence in the today’s food system. CFI’s members, who represent every segment of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and addressing important issues among all food system stakeholders.

“We depend on more than 11,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers to supply us and we believe they share our commitment to proper animal treatment,” says Dean Danilson, Vice President of Animal Well-Being Programs for Tyson Foods. “Initiatives like ‘See it? Stop it!’ and our own FarmCheck™ on-farm audit program are additional ways we can assure our customers and consumers we’re producing food responsibly. In fact, reporting animal mistreatment is one of the key elements of FarmCheck™.”

HockmanDallas Hockman “This initiative confirms the commitment of every farm owner and manager to do what’s right for animals,” says Dallas Hockman, vice president of governmental regulations for the National Pork Producers Council. “‘See it? Stop it!’ expands upon the industry’s ‘We Care’ program, which is grounded by ethical principles and well-being practices. ‘We Care’ helps further establish a culture that ensures proper animal care.”

Both the U.S. 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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