WPX Report: US Industry Shows its Ethical Face

by 5m Editor
6 June 2008, at 6:40pm

US - The US pig meat industry has joined forced to present its ethical face to the public, writes ThePigSite senior editor Chris Harris from the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, USA.

Chris Harris, Senior Editor, reports from World Pork Expo, Iowa.
Pork industry advisory group head RC Hunt

The Pork Checkoff and the National Pork Producers Council and other industry parties are working together top ensure that the message of a welfare interested, environmentally friendly industry is presented to retailers, foodservice and consumers.

The industry including processors and producers has come together to form an advisory group to develop six main principles to show how pig meat is producer ethically and to develop trust in the consumer.

"We want to develop a programme that displays to the public what we really stand for," said RC Hunt, a North Carolina pork producer, who heads up the 17 strong advisory board.

"It will be built on past programmes and we are taking a risk that for the first time we are allowing the public and the industry into the process. What we are doing will be shaping our industry for the future."

He said that the programme would be based on displaying to the public the aspects of the industry that show them it is ethical and welfare friendly and based on good principles.

"What it comes down to is developing trust," he said.

"And we have the responsibility of proving that trust."

The advisory board has built a programme based on six principles:

  • Producing safe food
  • Protecting and promoting animal well being
  • Safeguarding natural resources
  • Ensuring practices protect public health
  • Providing a safe and ethical work environment
  • Contributing to a better quality of life in the community.

Dallas Hockman, Vice President of Industry Relations for the NPPC said: "We are making sure there is an alignment in the industry from producer to packer.

"We want a code of ethics for the industry. It is not new. We have been doing it for years, but it is new doing it."

Mr Hockman said that the advisory group that first met in February has been consulting with legislators and major retailers, including Wal-Mart to establish the basis of the programme.

He said the whole initiative had been driven by third party groups and while it had followed concerns that had arisen over several issues in the industry including the use of gestation stalls and sow housing, the initiative is proactive and sees the industry going on the offence rather than defence.

"We are not doing it just to respond to an incident that the industry got a black eye over," he said.