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December 5, 2014
It seems the pork industry has had another rough-and-tumble round of media coverage this week. Mercy for Animals released undercover video taken on a Colorado hog farm. An expert panel, sponsored by the Center for Food Integrity and consisting of respected veterinarians and an animal ethicist, reviewed the video footage and noted that a lot of context is missing from what is presented. It is also not known when the video footage was taken, or what type of care the animals that are seen for a brief period of time were receiving beyond the moment depicted in each particular scene. As a contrast to the allegations of inadequate animal care, I would like to point out a couple of examples reinforcing my belief that our industry really does care—a lot.
Grimm says the secret to success really isn’t so “secret” at all. “It really is all about going back to the basics of good piglet care,” he explains. The majority of U.S. producers really do know that in addition to being the right thing to do, taking good care of the animals makes economic sense.
Yet another example of an animal care “guru” who practices what he preaches would be Dr. Larry Coleman, a well-respected swine veterinarian and regular National Hog Farmer contributor from Broken Bow, NE. Coleman has written a series of stories reminding our producer readers of the importance of good sow and piglet care. If you’ve spent even 5 minutes talking with Dr. Coleman, it becomes quite obvious that he passionately believes in good pig care. Does he contend that the industry is doing things perfectly now? No. However, he does offer sound and practical solutions to help producers improve. He challenges producers to do better and he is more than willing to coach interested producers on ways to improve their production practices.
Can our industry do better? Sure, there is always room for improvement. Sadly, there will be bad actors who reflect negatively, too. But for my "take home message" about our industry, I’m choosing to focus on the majority of pork producers who really are the “good guys,” when it comes to being good stewards of their animals. Our archives contain far more stories about those who care than those who don’t. I would encourage you to read the stories and ponder the suggestions from Matt Grimm, Dr. Coleman and others like them. One constant in our industry is a focus on continued improvement. I’ll say it once again, it’s quite obvious to me that we really do care.
Editor, National Hog Farmer
Lora is the editor of National Hog Farmer. She joined the National Hog Farmer editorial team in 1993, served as associate editor, managing editor, contributing editor, and digital editor before being named to the editor position in 2013. She has written and produced electronic newsletters for Farm Industry News, Hay & Forage Grower and BEEF magazines. She was also the founding editor of the Nutrient Management e-newsletter.
Lora grew up on a purebred Berkshire operation in southeastern South Dakota and promoted pork both as the state’s Pork Industry Queen and as an intern with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. Lora earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from South Dakota State University in agricultural journalism and mass communications. She has served as communications specialist for the National Live Stock and Meat Board and as director of communications for the University of Minnesota College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences. During her career, Lora earned the Story of the Year award from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association and bronze award at the national level in the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ competition. She is passionate about providing information to support National Hog Farmer's pork producer readers through 29 electronic newsletter issues per month, the monthly magazine and nationalhogfarmer.com website.
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