Nursing piglets National Pork Board

Maschhoffs, Hormel react swiftly to animal care video

The Maschhoffs has a zero tolerance policy for any abuse or mistreatment of its pigs. So, once the company became aware of an undercover video released by Mercy for Animals that was taken at one of its sow farms in Oklahoma, it took immediate action.

“We have launched a full-scale investigation in response to this video,” says President Bradley Wolter. “Any animal care deficiencies discovered will be addressed in the quickest manner possible.”

In a statement released today, The Maschhoffs announced immediate action.

• Communication of The Maschhoffs zero-tolerance animal care policy with all employees and production partners.

• Re-train all Oklahoma employees on the proper production procedures with respect to the practices that were displayed in the video.

• Ensure every farm manager at The Maschhoffs reviews the video and fully understands the responsibility that comes with proper animal care.

“We view animal care as a continuous-improvement process,” says Wolter. “We will continue to make investments to further our animal care standards in the future. Properly caring for our animals is of the utmost importance.”

Hormel Foods, which is supplied by The Maschhoffs’ Oklahoma farm, has a strict supplier code of conduct and policies relating to animal care and welfare. As a result, Hormel “will not tolerate any violation of these policies. As such, we have issued a suspension of all the Maschhoffs LLC Oklahoma sow operations while a thorough investigation is completed,” the meatpacker based in Austin, Minn., says in a statement.

Hormel Foods Corp. also announced that certified third-party auditors were sent to the Oklahoma farms and other Maschhoffs’ sites “to verify our animal care requirements are being adhered to. We expect, and have been assured, that the Maschhoffs LLC will cooperate with the investigation.”

“We are proud to produce pigs for U.S. pork packers and processors,” notes Wolter. “We do not take this responsibility lightly.”

The video in question was recorded in 2015.

The Oklahoma Pork Council also issued a statement in response to the video release.

“The Oklahoma Pork Council and Oklahoma’s hog farmers take seriously our ethical responsibility for the proper care of pigs. Responsible hog farmers condemn the mistreatment of any animal. The farm in question has launched an immediate investigation in response to the video. They will quickly address any deficiencies in animal care.

“There is always room for improvement. Many of the scenes depicted in the video are processes developed and implemented under veterinary supervision and are practices approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Oklahoma’s hog farmers recognize these scenes may be unfamiliar to those outside of livestock production, and we remain committed to working with trained animal care specialists — our veterinarians — to improve our practices and provide the best possible care for our animals.”

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