In the limited undercover video made available to us, we identified instances that depict improper handling while loading pigs on trucks, which does not adhere to Seaboard Foods’ training and best practices for moving pigs and ensuring they are comfortable and healthy so we can deliver safe, nutritious and delicious pork to our customers. As seen in the undercover video, the handling is unacceptable and inexcusable.
In the complaint submitted to the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, the organization that captured this undercover video provided statements by experts who viewed the complete video and cite specific, although conflicting, rough-handling and animal care actions. Seaboard Foods has not received the complete video; only about 4 minutes of it was made available to us, and we cannot confirm in our own investigation any allegations beyond rough handling while loading the pigs on the trailer.
We are disappointed the organization that made the complaint and took the undercover video, which purports to be concerned about animal welfare, did not report the allegations to us directly through our toll-free hotline as is required by any employee, especially after acknowledging Seaboard Foods’ comprehensive animal care program and commitment to the proper and humane treatment of animals and our zero-tolerance policy in the complaint to the Sheriff’s Office.
Our animal care program, protocols and training are audited independently by Farm Animal Care Training and Auditing, LLC, (FACTA), whose audit reviews are Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) certified. In addition to extensive training at the start of employment, all team members who handle live animals receive ongoing training for proper animal care and handling. They also sign a commitment to the proper and humane care of our animals and agree that if they witness any acts of improper animal handling they will immediately report it to their supervisor or call our animal care toll-free hotline.
Although we’re confident this is an isolated incident and only involved a few former employees, we are serious about taking action to ensure the proper treatment of pigs raised for food on our farms. We are taking the following actions:
While we realize animal handling techniques were not used properly in the undercover video, use of tools, such as sort boards and rattle cans, are considered best practices in animal care and moving pigs safely and calmly when used properly. These practices are based on the National Pork Board’s Transport Quality Assurance program and customized for Seaboard Foods. We also acknowledge that sometimes even the best practices as determined by veterinarians and animal care experts can seem uncomfortable to those who don’t spend their days with these animals, especially when viewed in context of a video with an agenda to end meat consumption.
We know this unfortunate incident raises questions about how pork is raised for food to feed people. To learn more, and to see a video about how we safely move pigs from barns to trailers headed for our processing plants, visit www.seaboardfoods.com/our_commitments/Pages/Animal_Handling.aspx.