th annual report in weekly segments. This initial installment highlights Smithfield’s progress toward converting all pregnant sows to group housing systems on company-owned farms by the end of 2017. The company is now at 87 percent of that goal.
“Customers and consumers are increasingly interested in the living conditions, care and respect of farm animals, and we are proud to proactively implement policies and practices that address their concerns,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “As just one example, more than 70 of the largest US retailers and foodservice companies have announced commitments to source pork from producers utilizing group housing systems for pregnant sows. Today, Smithfield remains the only major pork producer to undertake such a conversion.”
The first section of the sustainability report contains information about Smithfield’s position regarding animal care. According to Smithfield, the company is the first to commit to group housing of pregnant sows on company owned farms worldwide; the only producer to report its usage of antibiotics; and the first pork producer to design and put into practice a systematic and comprehensive welfare management program for its animals.
The report also includes animal care research case studies, a glossary of animal care industry terms and the results of internal animal care audits, among other information.
“As the world’s largest hog producer, we have a unique position and responsibility to lead our industry in animal care," said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO for Smithfield Foods. “Our bold steps — whether toward enhancing our reporting surrounding antibiotics or group housing systems for pregnant sows — not only create value for our business and the industry, but more importantly, embody our mission to produce good food the right way.”
Smithfield has organized the segments of its sustainability report according to the pillars of its comprehensive program. The goal behind the segmented release is better engagement of stakeholders by delivering information with greater accessibility. The company will publish the Environment, Food Safety and Quality, Helping Communities and People segments in succession throughout the remainder of this month.