JBS suspends purchases from Iowa Select Farms facility
July 5, 2011
by Meat & Poultry Staff
GREELEY, Colo. – Last week, just two days after an underground video surfaced allegedly showing animal abuse at the Iowa Select Farms sow farm at Kamrar, Iowa, that facility was suspended by JBS Swift, who sells pork to major retail chains such as Hy-Vee of West Des Moines and Costco, until improvements are made at that facility and verified.
Hidden-camera video released on June 29 by Mercy for Animals, which calls itself a national animal protection organization, depicted animal abuse at this facility, which houses thousands of pigs. The video allegedly shows pigs and piglets suffering from untreated wounds, sows confined in crates and piglets being mistreated, the group charged.
“We’re suspending taking product from that particular facility until such point that they can get verification to us through a third party that they have changed their practices,” Margaret McDonald, communications director with JBS USA told MEATPOULTRY.com. “It is a suspension of this facility, not the entire company, until we are satisfied they have made steps going forward, that they are complying with proper animal handling.”
In a statement provided by JBS USA, the company said it was “shocked and disturbed by the video,” and it was taking action with our hog-producer community to ensure animal treatment that is inconsistent with National Pork Board standards.
JBS is dedicated to responsible animal agriculture and does not condone or tolerate animal cruelty, the statement read in part. “In our commitment to continuous improvement in all our practices, we insist on high standards for our hog suppliers, and we require them to participate in the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus program [PQA Plus], a system of standards, education and training aimed at assuring animal well-being in addition to food safety,” the statement added.
The statement added that JBS consults with top university animal welfare experts and will continue to work with them to verify that appropriate practices and procedures are in place.
“We will require that all purchases be contingent on our suppliers’ ability to verify that their animal handling practices are responsible and humane, and we will not purchase animals originating from the facility in this video until we have third-party verification of their compliance with requirements for proper animal handling,” the statement concluded.