Iowa Select Farms has developed a new initiative for all of their farms called SelectCare, to increase its focus on improving farm animal care and well-being practices.
The changes come in the wake of an undercover video reported in late June that alleged to show animal abuse at a farm near Kamrar, IA, that is owned by Iowa Select Farms.
A spokesperson for the company says the animal welfare group that investigated the alleged abuses found no basis for those allegations.
SelectCare was developed after a comprehensive, independent examination of Iowa Select’s animal care practices and standards by Anna Johnson, a nationally recognized expert in animal behavior and well-being at Iowa State University. Johnson’s examination was funded by Iowa State Extension and included on-farm tours and review of employees working with animals.
The SelectCare initiative includes the following key directives:
• Appointing Howard Hill, DVM, who has been serving as director of external affairs, as full-time director of animal well-being compliance and improvement;
• Hiring a minimum of four full-time animal well-being specialists;
• Creating an Animal Well-Being Advisory Committee of outside, third-party experts;
• Conducting quarterly, independent audits at a minimum of three Iowa Select Farms sites, which will be randomly selected; and
• Designing and implementing a new enhanced training and testing program for all farm employees who work with animals.
Iowa Select Farms says it will continue to provide increased transparency of its animal well-being policies through the use of:
• Online farm tour videos illustrating pork production and animal well-being practices at company hog farms;
• Dedicated Web site pages for farm animal care and well-being, including details of the SelectCare program, and
• Continuing tours for customers, media and stakeholders.
On its Web site the company declared: “Iowa Select Farms is firmly committed to excellent animal care and the production of safe, high-quality, wholesome pork. We will hold ourselves and our employees fully accountable for compliance with our animal well-being programs and policies, and will be forthright in actions necessary to ensure the health and comfort of the animals we raise.”