Our Commitment to Pig Welfare
At PIPESTONE, our pigs rely entirely on us to meet their needs. Because they rely on us to meet their needs and care for their welfare, we have an obligation to do so. We have set specific welfare goals for our caretakers in regards to pig nutrition, behavior/interactions, health and the environment. We believe that our animal caretakers’ matter. We encourage them to understand that what they think and what they do truly matters to the pig.
At PIPESTONE, we have zero tolerance for neglect or willful acts of abuse on farm. Caretakers in violation of animal welfare policies and protocols are subject to disciplinary action up to termination. We make it clear to everyone that it is everyone’s responsibility to report any animal mistreatment if it is observed. Every caregiver working on a PIPESTONE managed farm has made a commitment to not abuse animals. They have also committed to stopping another individual if they see them abusing an animal and report it.
We must pay attention to both the physical and the mental state of our pigs to appropriately address pig welfare. So, how do we assess our pigs? Simple, we break it down into two parts:
Who is in Charge of Animal Welfare?
At Pipestone, we believe our caregivers are the best in the world. They are trained throughout the year on welfare topics. Each caregiver will complete a minimum of 12 trainings and pass 12 assessments on their welfare knowledge each year.
Our caregivers are trained to assess the physical and the mental or emotional state of the pig and to respond to every pig, every day. To verify our caregivers are assessing and responding appropriately, we have an internal audit team, monitored video camera footage and we regularly bring in trained external auditors from outside of PIPESTONE.
98% AVG EXTERNAL AUDIT SCORE
The swine industry has adopted core standards regarding the welfare of pigs, people and the planet. These standards are assessed via the Common Swine Industry Audit. This audit is performed by a 3rd party and consists of 93 standards. At PIPESTONE, we have our farms biennials.
150 INTERNAL AUDITS COMPLETED
At PIPESTONE we have specially trained staff that audit our farms to confirm we are accomplishing our welfare goals. The auditors make unannounced visits to the farm and assess the nutrition, interaction/behavior, health and the environment. Farms are given a score and tracked throughout the year. Farms which show a consistent ability to accomplish all our welfare goals are eligible to receive welfare appreciation compensation.
140 HOURS OF VIDEO FOOTAGE REVIEWED
At PIPESTONE, we have cameras installed in the load-out areas of many of our barns. We believe we have the best animal caretakers in the world, but we feel it is appropriate to verify this through video footage. In addition to on-farm audits, our internal audit teams also monitor video footage and score animal movements on our farms.
Welfare Expert Panel
At Pipestone, animal welfare is the foundation of what we do. Because it is so foundational to our success, we bring in experts to evaluate and provide direction for our program. The experts update our team on current welfare research and topics of importance. They analyze our policies and trainings and provide guidance for continual improvement of our welfare program.
Cara Haden, DVM
Director of Animal Welfare, Pipestone Veterinary Services
My name is Cara Haden, and I am director of animal welfare at PIPESTONE. I work every day to equip our animal caregivers, to verify our welfare culture, to respond to any animal welfare concerns, and to communicate our program to our clients, costumers, and the public. I passionately care about the pigs and the people of PIPESTONE, and can attest that animal welfare truly is at the core of what we do here each and every day.
Anna Kerr Butters-Johnson BSc, MSc, Ph.D.
Professor, Animal Behavior and Welfare, Iowa State University
Monique Pairis-Garcia, DVM, Ph.D., DACAW
Associate Professor, Global Production Animal Welfare, North Carolina State University
Madonna Benjamin, DVM, MS, DACAW
Associate Professor, Swine Extension Veterinarian College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University
Carissa Odland, DVM, MS
Manager of Sustainability, Wholestone Farms