2008 Report

Commitment to Animal Care

“We are committed to proper animal care and have a moral and ethical obligation to the humane treatment of animals. We believe food animals can and should be raised, transported and processed using procedures that are safe and free from cruelty and neglect.” Core Commitments

Animal Care Commitment Highlights
  • Employees sign a commitment to animal care
  • USDA Process Verified for Animal Handling
  • Third-party unannounced animal welfare audits of our farms and plants
  • Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification
  • Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus certification
Our beliefs and values
Our extensive animal care program is based on the fundamental belief that food animals should and can be treated humanely. As caretakers, we follow a comprehensive animal care program that has been hailed by industry experts.

Our approach
A full-time staff of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, nutritionists and animal scientists oversees this program with a goal to keep our animals calm and comfortable. Trained staff keep a watchful eye for sick animals, injuries or malfunctioning equipment by regularly checking barns and pens. Graduate-degreed nutritionists prepare up to 14 different proprietary grain-based diets to meet the changing energy, protein, mineral and vitamin needs during the animal's life cycle. This includes a special mix of vitamins and minerals tailored specifically for our pigs. The pigs remain healthier and have less need for therapeutic medications, while producing nutrient-rich pork.

Employee Training
From day one, Seaboard Foods employees who work with animals sign a commitment form agreeing they will abide by the Seaboard Foods animal care program. This agreement includes a zero-tolerance policy to improper animal treatment, and failure to comply will result in immediate termination.

Checking Pigs
Employees walk the pens often to check on the well-being of the pigs.
To ensure employees understand the significance of this commitment, we provide extensive ongoing training using scientific-based information about proper animal treatment.

All farm managers receive PQA Plus certification. This program administered by the National Pork Board, includes training and certification of the managers’ responsibilities for all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling and when necessary, humane and timely euthanasia.

Seaboard Foods requires anyone transporting animals to receive Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification through the National Pork Board. TQA stresses the importance of proper handling, loading and transporting of hogs, with special attention paid to biosecurity and animal welfare.

Third-Party Audits
Since 2003, Seaboard Foods has used the services of Farm Animal Care and Training, LLC, (FACTA) to conduct independent third-party animal handling audits from farm to plant. Seaboard Foods was the first large-scale pork producer to voluntarily agree to animal welfare audits. Many of the audits are conducted on the farms unannounced. FACTA, with a scientific advisory board that includes animal welfare experts Dr. John McGlone and Dr. Temple Grandin, also evaluates the employee training program and provides recommendations for continuous improvement.

Seaboard Foods has received perfect audit scores for plant animal handling by third-party auditors and customer audit teams. Our plant animal handling practices focus on keeping animals comfortable and calm. This includes a minimum two-hour rest period after animals arrive, which reduces animal stress, as does humane CO2 stunning.

USDA Process Verified for Animal Handling
As an added assurance, our plants are USDA Process Verified for animal handling. On-going, daily animal handling audits and employee training ensure proper animal treatment.