Smithfield lays out animal care and antibiotics use in its latest Sustainability and Financial reports. 

SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods, Inc., acquired by Hong Kong-based WH Group Ltd. in 2013, released the first segment of its 2015 Sustainability and Financial reports. Today’s installment, starting with its animal care section, was the first of its 15th annual report that will be released over an eight-week period. Smithfield’s goal in the segmented release is better engagement across a broad range of stakeholders in an easy to access format.

“Animal care has been a focus for us for many years. However, we have recently refined and increased our reporting in this area, particularly when it comes to the topic of antibiotics,” Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods, said in a statement. “To embark on a well-informed conversation guided by accurate and useful information, we need others in the industry to join Smithfield in defining and reporting antibiotics usage.”

Smithfield gives an explanation and examples of “prevention” relative to the use of antibiotics in farm animals, a new addition to this year’s report. The company uses antibiotics only to reduce disease carriers in the herd and prevent animals from contracting diseases, thus lessening potential for additional antibiotic treatment.

The report also provides new details on Smithfield’s animal care audit platform developed to give customers and consumers better knowledge of its responsible practices.  Other company initiatives related to animal well-being in the report include new details about its breeding program, a case study on the company’s newly created market for sustainable feed and updates on the conversion to sow group housing,

Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and COO, Smithfield Foods
Ken Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods

“At Smithfield, we have taken bold steps to ensure animals are safe, comfortable and healthy,” Ken Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, said in a statement. “These steps — whether in regards to antibiotics or group housing for pregnant sows — have created value for our business and the industry, making Smithfield the leader in animal care.”

Smithfield has committed to animal well-being through:

• Being the first and only company in the industry to report antibiotics usage since 2007.

• Being the first to commit to providing group housing for pregnant sows on company-owned and contract farms.

• Being the first pork producer to develop and implement a comprehensive, systematic animal welfare management program to monitor and measure animal well-being.

• Ending its use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion on company-owned and contract farms.

• Removing ractopamine from feed for all company-owned animals supplied to processing facilities.

Smithfield will publish its Environment, Food Safety and Quality, Helping Communities and People segments following the Animal Care Section. The full report will be available in mid-August.

Click here for Smithfield’s 2015 Sustainability and Financial Report