Animal Welfare

As one of the world’s largest producers of meat products, WH Group is committed to practicing and leading animal welfare initiatives. We believe that the dignity, health, safety, and comfort of animals should be assured during the rearing and slaughtering processes. In addition to responding to the concerns of consumers and stakeholders about animal welfare, we know that good health can also help animals become more resistant to disease, grow faster, and produce better offspring, thus ensuring product quality. Practicing animal welfare is a core part of our business and highlights our responsibility to the society and consumers.

WH Group organizes and implements animal welfare-related works based on internationally well-established animal welfare requirements such as the Animal Welfare Standards of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus, and the EU Animal Welfare Quality Assessment System. During rearing, transportation, and slaughtering processes, we also formulate relevant policies and procedures to ensure that animals are treated properly and humanely. All employees of WH Group engaged in these processes have been given animal welfare training in a systematic way, and the requirements for animal welfare have also been incorporated into the employee code and the production-management standards. With abundant operational experience and in-depth exploration, WH Group is striving to set an example for the industry in the best practices for animal welfare.

Cumulative investment for the transition of all pregnant sows on company-owned farms to group housing systems.

$360 million

Rearing care

When rearing animals, we consistently protect their welfare in the following way:

Feed and nutrition, pain reduction, comfortable growing environment, animal health, physical infection control and medical infection control.

Transportation care

The animal-transportation process is an important one for the Group. To assure proper care and respect for animals, we have established strict transportation standards and have signed detailed contracts with carriers that stipulate our animal welfare-related requirements.

Humane slaughtering

We insist that all hogs are still alive when they are transported to the plant, and the slaughtering process must be carried out at our own plants. In line with animal care principles, we require all incoming hogs to be given a brief respite in a resting pigpen to obtain sufficient water and rest. Hogs at an unsuitable weight will be returned.

  • Completing the transition to group-housing systems for pregnant sows

    As of the end of 2017, all pregnant sows on Smithfield’s company-owned farms globally are housed in group-housing systems, just as planned when Smithfield first announced its commitment in 2007. This includes those in Poland, Romania, and joint ventures in Mexico, which were converted five years ahead of schedule. This is reflective of the leading role we play in animal welfare. Total investments made was $360 million. In addition to the efforts at company-owned farms, we recommend that all of our contract sow growers in the United States complete a transition to group housing by the end of 2022.

  • Adopting a new water feeding nozzle

    Compared with the old type of water trough, the new water feeding nozzle we adopt in the U.S saves water and keeps the barn dry. The height of the nozzle can be adjusted for pigs of different sizes. This feeding nozzle is also more suitable for group housing