In 2007, Smithfield Foods Inc. began an industry-leading journey to transition pregnant sows on all company-owned farms in the U.S. to group housing systems by 2017. The company said today it is proud to report significant progress, having transitioned 81.8% of its farms by the end of 2015, a 10% increase over 2014. The company said it expects to be fully converted on company-owned farms by 2017, as planned.
With the progress made to date, at the outset of 2016, more than eight out of every 10 pregnant sows on Smithfield-owned farms in the U.S. are within group housing systems.
"At Smithfield Foods, we are committed to keeping animals safe, comfortable and healthy," said Ken Sullivan, Smithfield Foods president and chief executive officer. "As the world's largest pork producer, we have a responsibility to be a leader in animal care, and we view our conversion of the pregnant sow housing system as a key component of our dedication to this goal."
In addition to efforts at its company-owned farms, Smithfield previously announced that it expects all U.S. contract growers to complete a transition to group housing by 2022. To support its partners, Smithfield offers guidance and expertise to contract growers throughout the conversion process.
Smithfield's international hog production operations also have a goal of converting to group housing systems on all company-owned farms by 2022, including in Mexico. Smithfield's hog production operations in Poland (AgriPlus) and Romania (Smithfield Ferme) fully converted to group housing facilities on company-owned farms a number of years ago.
"Smithfield has a robust animal care management program that guides the care animals receive at every stage of their lives. This not only supports our goals for improving the health and well-being of animals but also provides consumers with the safest food possible," said Stewart Leeth, Smithfield Foods vice president and chief sustainability officer. "Our commitment to the transition to group housing for pregnant sows goes hand in hand with other pledges, such as our removal of ractopamine from feed for all company-owned animals supplied to our processing facilities, and other steps that have placed us at the forefront of the hog production industry in the United States."