Editor's note: The following statement was released by Smithfield Foods regarding an undercover video released Dec. 15 by the Humane Society of the United States .
At Smithfield Foods, chief among our priorities are food safety and the care and safety of our employees and animals. We have a long history of leading the industry with innovative programs to demonstrate that leadership.
Contrary to repeated statements from HSUS, Smithfield Foods is continuing its efforts to eliminate gestation stalls from our sow farms. We maintained that commitment, even through the recent recession, by continuing the engineering and planning processes. As noted in our shareholder's meeting on September 1, 2010, we have restarted the capital investment and are actively in the process of converting a number of our company sow farms from individual gestation stalls to group housing arrangements for pregnant sows.
On December 15th, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released a hidden video that called into question the behavior of a few employees regarding their treatment of our animals at a Smithfield facility in Waverly, Virginia. Our company's well-defined animal welfare policy and procedures had already been in action for several days after we had heard of an incident through our Employee Hotline.
That policy requires that employees report abuse and those who are found to be in violation of our animal welfare standards will be subject to discipline up to and including termination. Smithfield Foods dismissed three employees last week–including a supervisor–for violating the animal welfare policy.
To date, HSUS has refused to provide our investigators with a full copy of the hidden video footage. Doing so would greatly help bring our investigation to a conclusion and help ensure that our animals are treated humanely.
Source: Smithfield Foods