PORK Act delegates who assembled March 6-8 in Kansas City, Mo., adopted policy advisement to direct funding priorities for the pork checkoff for pork promotion, research and consumer information.
A set of advisements approved by the delegates reaffirmed a priority to research and obtain information to develop practices and management techniques for disease outbreaks, which include reducing or eliminating feed contamination, supporting the use of effective methods to stimulate protective sow immunity and preparing the industry for the next intrusion of a non-reportable production disease.
Animal handling and welfare assurance programs were a concern as well. Although industry programs have proactively trained pork producers on maximizing animal well-being, packers are now requiring pork suppliers to follow their own animal handling and production protocols, which may or may not be consistent with pork industry programs. Therefore, the delegates supported an effort to develop and standardize programs for animal handling and production assurance.
After recent plant shutdowns due to challenges at tattooing stations, delegates approved the move to explore alternative identification practices that limit stress on the animals and streamline the unloading process at the packing plant.
Delegates also were in favor of the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council continuing their effort in consumer outreach, which includes the WE CARE initiative.