Animal Care

As responsible pork producers we recognize and accept our moral and ethical obligation to provide for the well-being of our animals. We take animal well-being very seriously and have developed a comprehensive animal care program to make sure our animals are safe, comfortable, and healthy.

Managing Animal Care

Sow FarmAs the world’s largest producer of pork, Smithfield’s Hog Production Division raises pigs on approximately 450 farms that it owns in the United States alone. Smithfield’s Hog Production Division also contracts with approximately 2,000 contract hog farms (“contract growers”) in the United States. The Smithfield’s Hog Production Division Animal Care Policy, which applies to all company farms and contract growers, articulates a commitment to sound animal care and identifies five specific areas of responsible practice. Our Animal Care Policy underscores the company’s commitments to provide the following:

  • Shelter that is designed, maintained and operated to meet the animals’ needs.
  • Access to adequate water and high quality feed to meet nutritional requirements.
  • Humane treatment of animals that enhances their well-being and complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Identification and appropriate treatment of animals in need of health care.
  • Use of humane methods to euthanize sick or injured animals not responding to care and treatment.
  • Antibiotics used and antibiotic administration practices to be approved by licensed professional veterinarians.


Two groups within Smithfield address animal care issues: the corporate level Smithfield Foods Animal Care Council and the subsidiary level Smithfield’s Hog Production Division Animal Care Committee. Each meets quarterly and reviews our animal care performance, internal practices, policies, and techniques. The committee also discusses how we can best adapt evolving practices and technology to consistently deliver top-notch care for our animals.

During fiscal 2012, we worked on a number of issues that are important to our customers and to other stakeholders, such as eliminating the use of gestation stalls for pregnant sows on company-owned farms and improving transportation for hogs. We recently updated our standard operating procedures for animal handling and care, enhanced our training materials, and augmented our auditing systems.