Smithfield reports animal care progress, launches video

New 360-degree virtual reality video transports viewers to a wean-to-finish hog farm.

May 3, 2018

2 Min Read
hog barns farm and wind turbines in Iowa corn field

Smithfield Foods Inc. released the Animal Care section of its "2017 Sustainability Report" focusing on the company's practices to keep animals safe, comfortable and healthy. Smithfield plans to issue its 17th report on sustainability in segments organized by the pillars of its comprehensive sustainability program each week during the month of May.

To support the release of the Animal Care section of the new report, Smithfield also released a new 360-degree virtual reality video, which transports viewers to one of the company's wean-to-finish hog farms. The company leveraged this technology earlier this year — the first protein company to do so — to take viewers inside a company sow farm.


The "2017 Sustainability Report" provides in-depth information about Smithfield's specific leadership positions in the area of animal care, including that Smithfield is:

  • The first company to commit to group housing systems for pregnant sows on company-owned farms. Today, all pregnant sows on company-owned farms globally, including joint ventures in Mexico, are housed in groups.

  • The first and only company in the industry to report antibiotics usage (since 2007).

  • The first pork producer to develop and implement a comprehensive, systematic animal welfare management program.

  • The first protein company to release virtual reality videos of its hog farms.

"This past year marked a tremendous milestone for Smithfield with the completion of our sow housing conversion," said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. "We invested more than $360 million and 10 years into our transition to group housing systems for pregnant sows on company-owned farms and fulfilled that commitment right on schedule in 2017. We were proud to make this commitment a decade ago -- a first in the industry -- and even prouder now to have fulfilled it."

In addition to information about these topics, the report also includes details about Smithfield's ongoing research to investigate alternatives to antibiotics, including a new vaccine research lab, results of internal and third-party animal care audits and the company's efforts to continually enhance its animal care management system.

"Our approach to animal care is rooted in the fundamental philosophy that the healthier our animals, the healthier our company," Smithfield president and chief executive officer Kenneth Sullivan said. "Our bold initiatives create value for our business, our contract growers and supply chain partners, as well as the industry as a whole. Our animal care practices and policies underpin our focus on producing good food the right way."

To read the Animal Care section of the report in its entirety, visit

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