FTC Complaint Filed Over Animal Welfare Claims

by 5m Editor
19 April 2012, at 9:19am

US - The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asserting that the National Pork Producers Council is engaging in deceptive advertising related to animal well-being in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

According to the HSUS, the complaint alleges that the pork industry’s public descriptions of its We Care Initiative and deceptively-titled Pork Quality Assurance Plus program are riddled with numerous false claims regarding the welfare of pigs, including the trade group’s patently false claim that its PQA Plus program helps to "ensure that all animals in the pork industry continue to receive humane care and handling."

The complaint explains how the abusive practices allowed by the We Care and PQA Plus programs are fundamentally inconsistent with the Pork Council’s public claims. The HSUS and other organizations have regularly documented practices in the pork industry that most consumers do not consider humane such as the extreme confinement of breeding sows in two-foot-wide metal cages, and painful procedures such as tail "docking," which is typically performed without any form of pain relief.

"The pork industry spends millions misleading the public about its animal welfare record, while allowing pigs to be crammed into tiny gestation crates where they can’t even turn around for months on end," says Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation at The HSUS. "Rather than investing in real animal welfare reforms, the Pork Council is betting the farm on a deceptive PR campaign designed to mislead consumers with false assurances."

The HSUS’s complaint seeks prompt FTC action to stop the NPPC from deceiving consumers through its misleading animal care representations.