Smithfield first protein company to virtually open hog farm to public

Smithfield Foods releases Animal Care Section of 2017 Sustainability Report, supported by a new virtual reality video of hog operations.

May 1, 2018

3 Min Read
Smithfield first protein company to virtually open hog farm to public
Smithfield Foods

Source: Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods Inc. released the Animal Care section of its 2017 Sustainability Report focusing on the company’s industry-leading practices to keep animals safe, comfortable and healthy. This is the first segment of four that Smithfield will issue in its 17th Sustainability Report during May.

Smithfield has been making adjustments to its farms, improving the quality of life for their animals while making its business even more competitive for the future. The Animal Care Management System, which guides the care of the hogs at every stage of their lives — from gestation to transportation to processing — promotes the animals’ safety and overall well-being. All company-owned farm employees, contract hog producers and plant employees who work with live animals must follow Smithfield’s Animal Care Management System, based on the North American Meat Institute’s recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide. Furthermore, the company takes steps to verify their compliance. 

To support the release of the Animal Care section of this new report, Smithfield has also released a 360-degree virtual reality video, which transports viewers to one of the company’s wean-to-finish hog farms. The company leveraged this technology earlier this year — the first protein company to do so — to take viewers inside a company sow farm.

The 2017 Sustainability Report provides in-depth information about Smithfield’s specific leadership positions in the area of animal care, including:

• First company to commit to group housing systems for pregnant sows on company-owned farms. Today, all pregnant sows on company-owned farms globally, including joint ventures in Mexico, are housed in groups.
• First and only company in the industry to report antibiotics usage (since 2007).
• First pork producer to develop and implement a comprehensive, systematic animal welfare management program.
• First protein company to release virtual reality videos of its hog farms.

“This past year marked a tremendous milestone for Smithfield with the completion of our sow housing conversion,” says Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “We invested more than $360 million and 10 years into our transition to group housing systems for pregnant sows on company-owned farms and fulfilled that commitment right on schedule in 2017. We were proud to make this commitment a decade ago, a first in the industry, and even prouder now to have fulfilled it.”

In addition to information about these topics, the report also includes details about Smithfield’s ongoing research to investigate alternatives to antibiotics, including a new vaccine research lab, results of internal and third-party animal care audits, and the company’s efforts to continually enhance its animal care management system.

“Our approach to animal care is rooted in the fundamental philosophy that the healthier our animals, the healthier our company,” says Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “Our bold initiatives create value for our business, our contract growers and supply chain partners, as well as the industry as a whole. Our animal care practices and policies underpin our focus on producing good food the right way.”

To read the Animal Care section of the report in its entirety, visit

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