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Hormel defends hog-processing practices against PETA claims

After two PETA undercover investigators were hired by a Hormel supplier and videotaped alleged animal abuse, Austin-based Hormel defended its hog-processing procedures.

The company said it has implemented a National Pork Board program, Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus, to ensure high production practices, according to the Austin Daily Herald.

Six workers at the supplier’s plant — MowMar LLP in Bayard, Iowa — were charged with animal abuse after the release of the video.

PETA says Hormel still hasn’t acted to prevent further abuse.

“To PETA’s knowledge, Hormel Foods … has yet to implement even one of the nine animal welfare improvements recommended by PETA, and the company’s visible reaction to the horrific suffering PETA’s investigators documented last summer in Greene County has consisted of little more than false statements to concerned consumers and the press,” said Dan Paden, PETA research associate.

Hormel has said all hogs it purchases by Dec. 31, 2009, will be raised by pork producers and their employees who are certified in the PQA Plus program. In addition, the company now requires all producers, employees of producers and individuals who transport hogs to the company to have Transport Quality Assurance certification.

Hormel says PQA Plus is a three-part process that includes an educational and training session. Its “10 Good Production Practices” include education of proper techniques; using antibiotics responsibly; providing proper swine care to improve swine well-being; maintenance of medication and treatment records; and establishing a herd health management plan.

PQA Plus includes a random, third-party evaluation of sites, the company said.

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