Smithfield Foods, Inc. released new, more comprehensive information about its animal care initiatives in the first installment of its 2015 Sustainability and Financial Report. Starting with its animal care section, Smithfield will issue its 15th annual report in segments over an eight-week period.

“Animal care has been a focus for us for many years,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods in a press release. “However, we have recently refined and increased our reporting in this area, particularly when it comes to the topic of antibiotics. To embark on a well-informed conversation guided by accurate and useful information, we need others in the industry to join Smithfield in defining and reporting antibiotics usage.”

New to this year’s report, Smithfield provides a practical explanation and specific examples of prevention as related to antibiotics use in farm animals. At Smithfield, preventative antibiotics are used solely to reduce disease carriers in its herd and to prevent animals from contracting a disease, which would then require additional treatment and potentially more antibiotics, according to the report.

The report also features new details about the company’s animal care audit platform designed to provide customers and consumers with greater assurance that Smithfield is doing its part to raise animals in a responsible way. Additional highlights include a case study illustrating how Smithfield created a market for sustainable feed, new details about the company’s breeding program, updates about the company’s conversion to sow group housing and other company initiatives that improve animal well-being.

“At Smithfield, we have taken bold steps to ensure animals are safe, comfortable and healthy,” said Ken Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods in a press release. “These steps – whether in regards to antibiotics or group housing for pregnant sows – have created value for our business and the industry, making Smithfield the leader in animal care.”

Other achievement of Smithfield, according to the company:

  • First and only company in the industry to report antibiotics usage since 2007.
  • First to commit to providing group housing for pregnant sows on company-owned and contract farms.
  • First pork producer to develop and implement comprehensive, systematic animal welfare management program to monitor and measure animal well-being.
  • Ended use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion on company-owned and contract farms.
  • Removed ractopamine from feed for all company-owned animals supplied to processing facilities.

The animal care section of Smithfield’s 2015 Sustainability and Financial Report is now available. The full report will be available in mid-August.