Seaboard speaks out

by Erica Shaffer
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MERRIAM, Kan. – Sometimes the best practices aren't pretty when it comes to animal handling.

Seaboard Foods has come under fire recently for animal welfare practices at a Colorado swine farm. A Center for Food Integrity panel found that best practices were followed. Nevertheless, Seaboard acknowledged that some animal handling practices make people uncomfortable.

“We recognize that sometimes even the best practices as determined by veterinarians and animal care experts can seem uncomfortable to those who don’t spend their days with these animals, but at Seaboard Foods, we are committed to doing what is best for the pigs and the safety of our food,” the company said in response to a video released by Mercy For Animals, an animal welfare group.

Mercy For Animals took undercover video at a Yuma, Colo. swine farm owned by Seaboard. The group urged the company to eliminate the use of gestation crates at the company's pork farms. Actor Joaquin Phoenix narrated the video. Mercy For Animals also urged Walmart to follow the example of other retailers and foodservice operators by requiring pork suppliers to use alternative housing systems for pigs.

Walmart said in its policy on animal welfare in its fresh pork supply chain that the company is dedicated to providing quality and safety “safety with thorough practices that promote animal wellbeing.”

Seaboard noted that a team of animal care experts ensures that the company’s pigs are comfortable and healthy. The company also encouraged anyone with questions or concerns about Seaboard's animal care practices to view footage of its veterinarians at work.

“We know people have questions about how pork is raised for food. We have filmed our vets at our farms in our barns talking about how we choose housing for our pigs and how we ensure our pigs’ health and well-being,” the company said. “To learn more, visit www.SeaboardFoods.com.”
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