The National Pork Board has unveiled a new animal welfare audit platform.
Yesterday, as part of World Pork Expo 2014 in Des Moines, the National Pork Board outlined its new common industry audit platform for U.S. pork producers, packers and processors.
The new platform, which has been under development for the past year, will be incorporated into the existing Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.
Sherrie Webb, the director of animal welfare with the National Pork Board, explains at the annual Pork Industry Forum in 2013 the Pork Checkoff delegate body introduced and passed a resolution asking for the National Pork Board to facilitate a group of packers, producers and other industry stakeholders to look at how the industry could work together to reduce any duplication in audits.
Sherrie Webb-National Pork Board:
As we were clearly seeing more and more interest in on farm auditing producers, particularly those that sell to multiple packers, had a vested interest in making sure that there was consistency in the audits that were being applied.
The task force worked really hard in creating the standard and the audit to make sure we were focussing on various aspects of animal care.
We're focussing on caretakers and caretaker training, we're focussed on the facilities that are used to house the animals to make sure that they're in good states of repair, looking at records and record keeping as well as looking at the animals themselves and creating outcome based measures so that regardless of the type of production or the size of the farm or where ever the farm is located that it still can give an accurate picture of how the animals are being cared for on the farm.
Webb says beta testing of the latest draft to see how it functions on different types and sizes of farms is slated to finish by the end of June and the task force will meet in early July to identify any areas that need to be revised so it can be released for public use by the end of July.