Smithfield Foods is progressing with its plans to transition pregnant sows on all company-owned farms in the United States to group housing systems by 2017. The company on January 4 reported it transitioned 81.8 percent by the end of 2015, a 10 percent increase over 2014.
In the United States, Smithfield 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 ten pregnant sows on company-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 CEO. "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 Foods previously announced that the company expects all U.S. contract growers to complete a transition to group housing by 2022. To support its partners, Smithfield Foods 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 Food's 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."