Ag groups launch animal care initiative

The National Milk Producers Federation, Center for Food Integrity and the U.S. pork sector have jointly launched “See It?Stop It! Animal care starts with you”, a proactive demonstration of agriculture’s commitment to farm animal care. The initiative calls for immediately reporting signs of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm if witnessed by anyone forking on a farm or in a farm setting.

In it’s news release, NMPF said that “though it is uncomming, when animal abuse, neglect, harm or mistreatment takes place, it is essential to give animal care providers resources to swiftly report what they witness.”

Betsy Flores, NMPF’s Senior Director of Animal Health and Welfare, stated, “Care of animals could not be more important to farmers. Having a system in place to contact any of several authorities is imperative, and ‘See it? Stop it!’ provides that resource. This initiative combines well with the dairy industry’s National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management to ensure the well-being of animals in our care.”

“As the nation’s oldest animal protection organization, the American Humane Association (AHA) has a long history of involvement with programs that help assure proper animal care,” said Kathi Brock, National Director of the Farm Animal Program for AHA. “It is critical for farm management to set clear expectations for animal care and to have zero tolerance for animal mistreatment. We believe ‘See It? Stop It!’ provides the tools to help set those expectations and a mechanism for reporting abuse which supports the proper care of America’s farm animals.”

“Those in agriculture are understandably frustrated by undercover videos. The actions of a few captured on video can taint public perception of the entire livestock community. Taking action to stop abuse demonstrates a genuine commitment to do what’s right for the animals on farms,” said Roxi Beck of the Center for Food Integrity, which is a not-for-profit corporation established to build consumer trust and confidence in the today’s food system. CFI’s members, who represent every segment of the food system, are committed to providing accurate information and addressing important issues among all food system stakeholders.

NFPF says it is farm leaders’ duty to convey the level of commitment they have to responsible animal care, while empowering employees who work with or around animals to immediately report any signs of animal abuse, neglect, harm or mistreatment.

“We depend on more than 11,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers to supply us and we believe they share our commitment to proper animal treatment,” said Dean Danilson, Vice President of Animal Well-Being Programs for Tyson Foods. “Initiatives like ‘See it? Stop it!’ and our own FarmCheck™ on-farm audit program are additional ways we can assure our customers and consumers we’re producing food responsibly. In fact, reporting animal mistreatment is one of the key elements of FarmCheck™.”

Both the U.S. pork and dairy industries have provided funding for the initiative and feel it is a great way to expand upon their already strong animal care programs.

“The Pork Quality Assurance® (PQA Plus®) program outlines best practices for proper animal care,” said Sherrie Niekamp, director of animal welfare for the National Pork Board. “The ‘See it? Stop It!’ initiative meshes well with the core principles of PQA Plus that pork producers have followed for more than 20 years.”

Additional information about the program, including an employer checklist, guidance for integrating the program into existing animal well-being programs, posters for use in barns and guidance on employee training is available at www.SeeItStopIt.org.

Source: NMPF