QPP continues animal handling enhancements

by Erica Shaffer
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AUSTIN, Minn. – Quality Pork Processors is moving ahead with improvements to the company’s animal handling practices. QPP began reviewing and changing its practices in response to mandates outlined by Hormel Foods Inc., a QPP supplier since 1989.

An investigator working for Compassion Over Killing released undercover video footage this past month depicting acts of abuse against pigs at a QPP facility in Austin. The video was released after the company already had taken steps to retrain some employees on proper animal handling procedures. Immediately following the release of the video, QPP outlined actions the planned to take to improve animal welfare at the company. Thirty days later, the company has implemented additional practices that include:

• Verification activities to monitor proper use of animal movement aides;

• Further expansion of our third-party video verification auditing program;

• Placed dedicated Hormel Foods Humane Handling Officers in all livestock areas to observe all animal handling in the operation;

• Modifications made to the area where animals enter the processing equipment resulting in significantly improved animal movement while lowering the need for employees to use driving aides;

• Modification made to the entry of the animal holding pens to better attend to animals;

• Backup gates added to improve animal movement;

• Non-slip flooring has been added;

• Continuing the development of new movement tools, including the use of a swim noodle tool; and

• The establishment of the QPP Animal Welfare Council that is meeting to evaluate the changes being made and ensure we are exceeding industry animal care standards.

“We want to assure Hormel Foods and all of its customers that we are adamant about proper care and handling of our animals and are committed to taking steps that will bring about positive changes, not only for QPP, but also for the industry as a whole,” Kelly Wadding, president of QPP, said in a statement. “In addition, our Animal Welfare Council continues to explore ways to go above and beyond industry standards related to animal welfare and handling.”
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