Pork

Our Pork Program Makes a Difference

That's because if we feel that it's not right for the animals we care for, we say "NO" and always will.

NO

  • Antibiotics of any kind, from birth
  • Ractopamine (Paylean®) or any other growth promotants, from birth*
  • Gestation crates

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones or steroids in pork.

YES

  • Independent farm families raise our hogs
  • All-vegetarian diets*
  • Protection from environmental elements

*Vegetarian-fed diet, except for milk protein.


Diet & Hydration

We make sure our livestock has access to fresh water. Specific diets are designed to help keep them healthy while promoting a positive state of well-being. And there's no fighting over food here—every animal gets its fair share.

  • Farmers and facilities are audited before they can join our team. Specifically, we observe and evaluate feeder and water space per pen.
  • Farmers work with animal nutritionists to create diets that meet the needs of our livestock at all stages of production and growth.
  • Farmers are required to be Pork Quality Assurance certified. When it comes to feed and water, farmers routinely check water flow rates to make sure water is readily available without being wasteful. Feeder checks are conducted daily.
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Environment

Our animals' environments are designed to help protect them from discomfort, fear and distress, while allowing them to perform their natural behaviors. Hogs will be hogs, after all.

  • We do not allow gestation crates in sow housing. While we do allow farmers to house sows in breeding stalls for up to 10 days postweaning to reduce injury and encourage additional feed intake without competition, we are currently working with farmers to eliminate the use of all stalls in production by the year 2018. Additionally, our farmers are making the transition to turn around farrowing pens, giving sows more opportunity to interact with their piglets. Currently, more than 50% of our production comes from farms that use these turnaround farrowing pens.
  • Our farmers use many different barn types, including outdoor lots, hoop barns and open air barns. No matter what type of barn is being used, temperature stress is kept to a minimum in all phases of production. This could include installing sprinklers, misters and wallows in the summer. In the winter, heat and/or bedding are provided as extra layers of comfort for the livestock.
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Management & Care

A high degree of caring and responsible management is what ensures good animal welfare. We know our hogs. Our team is thoroughly trained, skilled and competent in animal husbandry and welfare, and has strong working knowledge of their system and the livestock under their care. We provide a predictable daily management routine for our pigs.

  • We partner with family farmers who share our commitments. With this in mind, the farmers provide excellent care for their animals, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because that is our shared commitment to you.
  • As previously mentioned, farmers are required to be Pork Quality Assurance certified. Anyone transporting livestock must also be Transport Quality Assurance certified. This helps ensure that quality and care are maintained throughout the whole process.
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Management & Safety

A healthy hog is a happy hog. We believe our pigs' housing environments must be conducive to good health. All farmers must develop a health plan in consultation with their veterinarians.

  • As part of the Pork Quality Assurance program, all farmers must maintain a Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship. This creates constant dialogue between producer and veterinarian to keep up-to-date vaccination protocols and herd health plans, as well as discuss treatment interventions when needed.
  • All farms must have a biosecurity protocol in place to protect the health and wellbeing of their livestock.
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Transportation

Animal transport systems must be designed and managed to help ensure livestock do not experience unnecessary distress or discomfort. Transport and handling of livestock must be kept to a minimum. Team members involved with transport are thoroughly trained and able to carry out the tasks required of them.

  • Team members are certified through the Transport Quality Assurance program prior to delivering hogs to the plant. Additionally, we routinely conduct transport audits to ensure proper stocking densities of trailers, adequate bedding usage and proper use of weatherboard to manage air flow through trailers depending on the weather.
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