QPP releases progress report following video

Quality Pork Processors released a statement about the improvements it has made 30 days after an undercover video was released showing pigs being treated inhumanely.

QPP said employees have worked closely with the USDA to make the changes to ensure these abuses aren’t repeated.

“We want to assure Hormel Foods and all of its customers that we are adamant about proper care and handling of our animals and are committed to taking steps that will bring about positive changes, not only for QPP, but also for the industry as a whole. In addition, our Animal Welfare Council continues to explore ways to go above and beyond industry standards related to animal welfare and handling,” Kelly Wadding, president of QPP, said in the press release.

Compassion Over Killing released video clips in November that were shot in September and October by a former worker at QPP’s Austin plant, which solely services Hormel. The video shows workers taking “inhumane shortcuts that lead to extreme suffering” to keep the slaughter lines moving, according to Erica Meier, executive director of the Washington-based animal rights group.

After the release, QPP announced it would further discipline employees that exhibited aggressive behaviors and it would retrain all employees on proper animal handling and conduct, along with several other measures.

Hormel Foods Corp. also issued a statement calling the behavior depicted in Compassion Over Killing’s video unacceptable. The company demanded further disciplinary actions, additional animal welfare and handling training, enhanced compliance oversight, and increased third-party auditing at QPP’s plant.

QPP said additional actions that have been implemented since the event include:

—Verification activities to monitor proper use of animal movement aides;

—Further expansion of our third-party video verification auditing program;

—Placed dedicated Hormel Foods Humane Handling Officers in all livestock areas to observe all animal handling in the operation;

—Modifications made to the area where animals enter the processing equipment resulting in significantly improved animal movement while lowering the need for employees to use driving aides;

—Modification made to the entry of the animal holding pens to better attend to animals;

—Backup gates added to improve animal movement;

—Non-slip flooring added;

—Continuing the development of new movement tools, including the use of a swim noodle tool;

—The establishment of the QPP Animal Welfare Council which is meeting to evaluate the changes being made and ensure the company is exceeding industry animal care standards.

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