QPP announces more animal welfare measures

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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AUSTIN, Minn. – Additional corrective measures will be implemented at Quality Pork Processors’ Austin, Minn.-based processing facility. QPP developed the new measures in response to mandates outlined by Hormel Foods Inc., a QPP customer since 1989.

The announcement comes after Compassion Over Killing released an undercover video depicting workers abusing pigs at the QPP plant. The video was released after the company already had taken steps to retrain some employees on proper animal handling procedures. In light of the video release QPP’s corrective measures include:

• Further disciplinary action against employees who exhibited aggressive or inappropriate behavior;

• Retraining of all employees on proper animal handling and employee conduct;

• In addition to QPP's existing 24/7 video monitoring and surveillance, increasing the review frequency by a third-party company;

• Increasing third party audits, including additional surprise audits;

• Placement of Humane Handling Officers to observe all animal handling in the operation;

• Implementation of a confidential hotline for employees to report any actions that do not meet company standards for animal care and welfare;

• Evaluating and implementing further improvements in animal handling equipment. In fact, we have already begun a pilot project to use foam swimming noodles instead of rattle paddles to help facilitate animal movement.

Finally, QPP will release a public report detailing its progress and any additional measures within the next 30 days.

“We have reviewed the video and are very disappointed by the actions of some employees,” said Kelly Wadding, QPP president. “The actions of these few employees don’t represent the collective culture of animal care that our employees exhibit each and every day at QPP. As such, we have taken swift and immediate action to reinforce our high standards and operating procedures in the animal care and welfare areas.

“We want to assure Hormel Foods and all of its customers that we care about animal welfare, and are committed to taking steps that will bring about positive changes for the industry as a whole,” Wadding continued. “In addition, our Animal Welfare Council is looking at ways to exceed industry standards related to animal welfare and handling.”
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