Last Friday, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart US and Sam’s Club US announced new positions around animal welfare and the responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals. Regarding animal welfare, Walmart stated it believes animals should be treated humanely throughout their lives. As part of its animal welfare position statement, Walmart said it will not tolerate animal abuse, supports the globally recognized “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare, and is committed to working with supply chain partners to implement practices consistent with the Five Freedoms.
Smithfield said it ceased using human-grade antibiotics for growth promotion in its pigs on company-owned and contract farms more than two years ago, voluntarily aligning the company with the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA’s) guidelines 209 and 213 years ahead of schedule.
“We understand that potential antibiotic resistance is a public health concern, and that’s why we are leading the pork industry in ensuring the responsible use of antibiotics within our operations,” said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield's president and CEO.
In addition, in 2007 Smithfield Foods announced it would transition pregnant sows to group housing systems on its company-owned operations in the US. As of December 2014, more than 71 percent — or seven out of every 10 — of its pregnant sows on company-owned farms had been transitioned to group housing. The project should be completed by 2017.
“We’ve accepted our role as the world’s largest pork producer and have led the charge by addressing challenging issues facing the industry while improving our sustainability program and processes to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of our customers and consumers,” Pope said.