The National Milk Producers Federation Wednesday joined the Center for Food Integrity and the U.S. pork sector to jointly launch "See It? Stop It! Animal care starts with you," a proactive demonstration of agriculture's commitment to farm animal care.
The initiative demands that if signs of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm are witnessed, anyone working on a farm or in a farm setting has an obligation to report it immediately. The groups say any time animal abuse takes place, it is essential to give animal care providers resources to swiftly report what they witness.
The "See It? Stop It!" initiative provides several options to enable employees to speak up to stop animal abuse. Ultimately, empowering animal caretakers and giving them responsibility to report animal abuse immediately will help assure the best care for animals.
Betsy Flores, NMPF's Senior Director of Animal Health and Welfare, said care of animals could not be more important to farmers.
"Having a system in place to contact any of several authorities is imperative, and 'See it? Stop it!' provides that resource," Flores said. "This initiative combines well with the dairy industry's National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management to ensure the well-being of animals in our care."
The initiative demonstrates to the public that farmers are committed to good animal care and calls on anyone who witnesses abuse to stop it immediately. This includes those who are on farms to videotape animal production activities. Stopping and reporting abuse quickly is the right thing to do for animals, and it demonstrates that those involved in livestock production understand their obligation to provide sound animal care. Demonstrating this commitment is important to maintaining public trust in today's animal agriculture.
"Those in agriculture are understandably frustrated by undercover videos. The actions of a few captured on video can taint public perception of the entire livestock community. Taking action to stop abuse demonstrates a genuine commitment to do what's right for the animals on farms," said Roxi Beck of the Center for Food Integrity.
Both the U.S. pork and dairy industries have provided funding for the initiative and feel it is a great way to expand upon their already strong animal care programs.
"We depend on more than 11,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers to supply us and we believe they share our commitment to proper animal treatment," said Dean Danilson, Vice President of Animal Well-Being Programs for Tyson Foods. "Initiatives like 'See it? Stop it!' and our own FarmCheck on-farm audit program are additional ways we can assure our customers and consumers we're producing food responsibly."
Dallas Hockman, vice president of governmental regulations for the National Pork Producers Council, said the 'See it? Stop it!' campaign expands upon the industry's 'We Care' program, which is grounded by ethical principles and well-being practices.
Additional information about the program, including an employer checklist, guidance for integrating the program into existing animal well-being programs, posters for use in barns and guidance on employee training is available at www.seeitstopit.org.