In a statement released this week, Iowa Select Farms says the Iowa Falls, IA-based hog production company has “a long-standing history of meeting high-quality animal care standards. This is why Iowa Select Farms takes any claims of animal neglect or abuse very seriously in order to seek the facts and take appropriate action.”
In response to an undercover video released by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals from its Kamrar, IA, hog farm, Iowa Select Farms senior veterinarian Howard Hill says: “Iowa Select Farms has a long-standing commitment to animal welfare. Training and compliance with our animal welfare policies is a condition of employment.
“We have already initiated an investigation into the portions of the video that show unacceptable animal handling by a few employees,” Hill says.
After the preliminary investigation is completed, Iowa Select Farms has retained Anna Johnson, animal behavior and well-being researcher at Iowa State University, to provide additional consultation to deal with specific actions depicted in the video “that do not reflect Iowa Select’s commitment to animal welfare and continuous improvement,” Hill adds. “If this independent review determines that we can make improvement to our animal welfare program and training, we will make such improvements.”
Also, Hill says if a determination is made that any employee of the company engaged in activities contrary to the policies they agreed to follow, then disciplinary action, including termination of employment, will be considered, as is provided by animal welfare policy. “This has been done before when a violation of our policies has been identified. We have zero tolerance for violations of our animal welfare policies, and those portions of the video that show violations will be dealt with quickly and appropriately,” he explains.
“As a veterinarian, I took an oath to provide for the care and well-being of animals,” Hill continues. “I am deeply troubled that someone would videotape what they believe is animal abuse if they had a chance to report it and stop it. Anyone who sees abuse has an ethical obligation to stop it immediately. Iowa Select has ultimate responsibility for assuring animal care of our farms, but videotaping abuse instead of reporting it is indefensible.”
Iowa Select Farms was founded in 1992 and employs over 900 Iowans in 43 counties.