SMITHFIELD, Virginia (December 15, 2010)At Smithfield Foods our number one priority is care and safetyof our hogs and our employeesat all of our facilities. The company's well-defined animal welfare policy and the procedures have been in action in the form of an ongoing investigation since this weekend, when we first learned of a possible incident at one of our facilities through our employee animal welfare hotline.
To further expedite the investigation we have engaged renowned animal welfare expert Temple Grandin to help us determine the facts of the events depicted in the video and recommend any policy and procedure adjustments that may be called for. Also assisting in the investigation and on-site at our farms today is Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian and Director, Division of Animal and Food Industry Services, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Should the investigation yield any wrongdoing on the part of any Smithfield Foods employee we will take appropriate action up to and including termination, pursuant to our animal welfare policy.
We provide regular training to our employees on our animal welfare policies and procedures, and we have zero tolerance for any behavior that does not conform to our established animal well-being procedures. We will publicly release the findings of the investigation as soon as it is concluded.
Even during the worst of the recent recession for this country and especially the difficult financial situation the hog industry faced, we maintained our commitment to phasing out gestation crates on company owned farms by continuing the engineering and planning processes. As noted in our earnings call of December 1, 2010, we have restarted the capital investment and are actively in the process of converting a number of our company sow farms from individual gestation stalls to group housing arrangements for pregnant sows.
Statement can be attributed to Dennis Treacy, Chief Sustainability Officer Smithfield Foods.
For additional information and updates, please visit: www.smithfieldfoodstoday.com