News from the National Pork Board

Animal welfare: a top priority in the pork industry

The well-being of the swine herd is essential to the success of any pork operation. It makes sense for producers to make good management techniques and proper husbandry practices top priorities on their farms. To do anything less than take the best possible care of their animals is self-defeating.

Because of the variety of management options available to producers, it is important to remember that animal welfare is determined by assessing the physiology, behavior, and production of the animals. The people caring for the animals are most able to monitor these three factors.

The National Pork Board's Animal Welfare Committee works closely with the AASV to develop resources useful for providing the best advice possible to producers with concerns about their herd's welfare. This committee has three objectives:

Inserted in this publication is a copy of the US Producer Code of Practice. It includes the characteristics of husbandry that the industry considers to be acceptable for good swine care. Feel free to use it in your office or operation as a reminder of what all industry workers should strive to achieve in swine care. Please contact the National Pork Board to order additional copies. The National Pork Board's Animal Welfare Committee is also working on a publication to describe how veterinarians can promote the Producer Code of Practice. This resource will be available soon.

Other resources offered by National Pork Board include the following:

Swine Care Handbook

The Swine Care Handbook provides producers with scientifically based guidelines for maintaining and improving the welfare of their animals, and acts as a resource for producers to ensure that procedures in their operations are scientifically defensible. This publication is being revised, and the new edition will be sent to all ASSV members.

On-farm Euthanasia of Swine - Options for the Producer

Even with our best efforts, animals may become ill, injured, or disadvantaged in such a way that euthanasia may need to be considered. The National Pork Board worked closely with the AASV to develop this book on guidelines about humane methods of on-farm euthanasia. Since its release, it has been used as a guide for similar publications concerning other livestock species.


Before producers can sell to major packers, they are required to demonstrate that they have completed the PORK QUALITY ASSURANCE(TM) (PQA) Program. More than 75,000 people have been issued PQA Level III status. The program encourages good production practices and provides information to producers about the Pork Producer Code of Practice, swine handling, equipment, human contact, facility considerations, loading, and transporting.

Swine handling videos

A series of videos and related educational materials is available to producers, transporters, and packers. Topics covered include proper pig handling and movement, transportation during extreme weather conditions, and loading and unloading guidelines.

Swine welfare indexing system

An international panel of animal welfare and husbandry experts is advising the Animal Welfare Committee about developing a system to objectively evaluate and track the welfare of swine on the farm. The committee, with input from the AASV, is making progress on this project to be completed in 2001.


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This page last updated April 19, 2012.