We support the health and well-being of farm animals by improving the quality of their lives and living environment, which in turn enables us to ensure ethical farming practices, reduce risks of animal disease outbreaks, and provide better and safer products.
Across our business, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy pertaining to the mistreatment of animals. Our strict animal care requirements are advised and overseen by licensed veterinarians, third-party experts and a team of animal welfare professionals at our company. We also have animal welfare committees for hogs and turkeys to ensure best practices and compliance with laws designed to prevent animal cruelty.
Our Animal Stewardship Policy serves as our enterprisewide guide to ethical animal farming practices. Finally, we conduct regular assessments and audits to verify that our animal welfare requirements are being met in our operations and in our supply chain.
Animal Welfare Management
In 2009, Hormel Foods established the position of manager of animal welfare and handling. This professional is charged with ensuring adherence to our stringent standards for animal welfare at all domestic production sites.
We conduct routine audits at our facilities, and we hire third-party auditors to gather information to continuously improve our animal welfare procedures. In addition, team members have a confidential hotline so they can anonymously report any animal welfare procedure that does not meet our standards.
To ensure the integrity of our animal welfare standards, we have several animal welfare committees in place. In 2016, Hormel Foods established our corporate Animal Welfare Steering Committee and an animal welfare committee at each hog-harvesting facility. This is in addition to the Jennie-O Turkey Store Animal Welfare Review Board that has been in place for many years.
We raise our hogs and turkeys in climate-controlled barns that keep them healthier and protect them from predators, diseases and extreme weather conditions. In addition, all of the turkeys raised by Jennie-O Turkey Store are housed in open barns, and our company-owned hog farm has transitioned to group sow housing.
We expect our team members and suppliers to follow our standards when treating and handling animals. Team members and producers regularly review, agree to and follow a personal pledge of conduct, which outlines our principles for animal welfare and handling.
All team members at processing plants who are involved in receiving hogs and turkeys are routinely trained in the proper and humane handling of all animals.
We also conduct at our facilities routine audits by trained internal auditors and third-party auditors. Information collected from each audit is used to continuously improve our animal handling procedures.
We want every animal to be raised in a healthy environment and treated properly. This commitment serves as the core foundation of our Animal Stewardship Policy.
Hormel Foods is dedicated to doing things the right way in every aspect of our business. That includes our animal stewardship practices. To maintain our high standards, we have developed the following principles to guide our animal care and handling procedures.
- All farms will provide a balanced and nutritious diet, plus water.
- A safe and humane environment will be provided for every animal throughout its life, including minimization of stress, management of social needs and control of environmental conditions.
- Every facility will be properly maintained with the animals’ well-being in mind, including appropriate facilities and space, and the utilization of compassionate, stress-reducing techniques during handling.
- Animals will be provided with appropriate preventive and, if necessary, medical care, including veterinary oversight and the identification of prompt treatment of sick animals. When medically necessary, we use antibiotics responsibly.
- We will follow clearly documented humane procedures in the event an animal needs to be euthanized.
We have developed industry-leading standards in conjunction with animal care experts, including renowned authorities on humane animal husbandry. These veterinarians and animal experts help us to create a blueprint that ensures every animal is raised in a healthy environment and treated with care, respect and compassion throughout its entire life. Our network of family farm suppliers understands and shares these values.
Hormel Foods has a zero-tolerance policy toward the mistreatment of animals through abuse or neglect. We have strict requirements related to animal care, which are overseen by veterinarians, third-party experts and a team of animal welfare professionals at Hormel Foods.
In addition to these principles, we have more requirements for hogs and turkeys. Our Applegate (Bridgewater, N.J.) subsidiary has additional animal care requirements as well. Applegate works with third-party certifiers like Global Animal Partnership® and Certified Humane® to ensure animals are raised and handled in ways that honor the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. Applegate requires its suppliers to meet third-party certified animal welfare standards.