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We have an obligation to provide a safe environment for our team members as well as the animals in our care. Providing the best animal care is a continuously improving process based on sound science, veterinary experts and agricultural experience and expertise.
Since 1895, Clemens Food Group has been committed to raising animals with care and respect. We have always taken a serious, proactive, and comprehensive approach to ensure the proper care and well-being of our animals.
Clemens Food Group continues to adhere to comprehensive animal handling procedures recommended specifically to us through the input and guidance of several independent third parties that govern the animals and products that are sold under the Hatfield® Brand.
Clemens Food Group has stringent control points in place to ensure the utmost in animal care by:
Utilizing scientific and veterinary experts, along with experts in animal welfare, and our own Full-time Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and staff, Clemens Food Group continues to evaluate the best animal welfare practices and adjust our care accordingly to ensure we continue to provide the most proven, innovative and optimum care for our animals.
Adherence to these standards is a non-negotiable requirement for all team members, farmers and transporters who handle animals. Our sincere commitment to these programs, among others, underscores Clemens’ concern and commitment to animal care.
Our Veterinarian oversees all of our animal welfare practices for all of our farm, food production and transport operations. Our Veterinarian consults with the American Meat Institute (AMI) animal handling committee with animal welfare leaders like Dr. Temple Grandin to ensure that at Clemens Food Group we are at the forefront of the treatment of animals.There are also Full-time USDA members on site at the Hatfield and Coldwater production facilities, including one USDA Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Additionally, all producer partners must provide CFG with proof of a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR). Under this relationship, a veterinarian makes all medical judgments regarding the health of the pigs and treatments, and the pig caretaker agrees to follow the veterinarian’s instructions. Veterinarians must have firsthand knowledge of the pigs’ health to be able to make medical decisions.
All animal caretakers at every stage of production for pigs sent to CFG must be certified under the National Pork Board’s PQA Plus Program. This certification must be documented and provided to CFG. PQA Plus is an educational program for pig caretakers representing the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement of production practices. It addresses animal well-being, environmental stewardship, worker safety, food safety, public health and community.
Clemens was one of the first companies in the nation to become fully engaged in this program, mandating that all its team members, farmers and livestock handlers become 100% certified. Through this program, Clemens Food Group team members and family farmers undergo advanced education in animal welfare and animal handling to gain the skill and understanding of their obligation to provide proper care for the animals they raise.
All team members receiving hogs at Clemens Food Group undergo an extensive training program that includes job shadowing, computer based classroom training, and hands-on training with a supervisor or Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization (PAACO) certified team member.
At CFG we engage annually to conduct independent third-party animal welfare farm and plant audits to ensure compliance and the highest animal care and handling practices. The main audits/auditors include:
In the Hatfield Brand program, antibiotics are only used when necessary to care for sick pigs. Antibiotics may only be administered in accordance with the label/prescription under advisement of the pig supplier’s veterinarian. Antibiotics may never be administered as a growth promotant. The pig supplier must provide CFG with written documentation of their antibiotic program.
All livestock truck drivers delivering pigs to any farm in the supplier’s system or to market must be certified under the National Pork Board’s Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) Program. TQA is a program that helps the pig transporters, producers and handlers understand how to handle, move and transport pigs and the potential impacts of those actions on pig well-being and/or pork quality. TQA certifications are regularly audited by a CFG team member.
In the Hatfield Brand program, all pigs are fed a diet of which a majority is comprised of grains including, but not limited to, corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and their associated by-products. Diets are formulated and administered based on consultation with an accredited nutritionist or pig nutrition professional, and must be adjusted throughout the grow-out period to meet the pigs’ changing nutritional needs. Pigs are never fed, implanted or injected with any hormones or steroids. Pigs are never fed Ractopamine, and pig suppliers must have documentation that this restriction is being followed. CFG will review the pig supplier’s feed records at defined intervals to determine compliance with these standards.
On our Hatfield Brand products you will see the claim “without the use of hormones, steroids and raised without the use of growth promotants.”
We have included those claims to help consumers make decisions about the products they are purchasing and consuming. We carry these claims on our Hatfield Brand products because not all proteins are raised and regulated equally.
While Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in pork, hormones are approved for use in beef cattle and sheep raising. As one of the largest pork processors domestically, all of our pork brands comply with the federal regulations and therefore we can and do claim No hormones or steroids added on our labels and as part of our branded offerings.
As part of our statement Hatfield Brand has committed to only process animals raised without the use of growth promotants. Our commitment to raise and care for our animals without the use of growth catalysts like Ractopamine means our animals are never fed, implanted or injected with any hormones or steroids, never fed Ractopamine, and Clemens Food Group producer partners must have documentation that this restriction is being followed for our Hatfield Brand program.
Since 1895, Clemens Food Group has been committed to raising animals under the highest animal welfare standards. Animal welfare is a top priority for Clemens, and we have always taken a serious, proactive, and comprehensive approach to ensure the proper care and well being of our animals.
Providing the best animal care is a continuously improving process based on sound science, veterinary experts and agriculture experience and expertise. As an industry leader in animal care, Clemens Food Group has been researching gestation and farrowing systems for over a decade, and has studied these systems in the United States, as well as systems currently used in Europe and Canada. As a result our CVFF farms are on the leading edge of animal care.
CFG made the decision based on its research to transition company owned sows to a group housing system. All of its new farms will be built with open pen gestation. As farms are remodeled older farms will transition to open pen gestation.
CFG is requiring its producer partners to convert to group housing and they must provide a detailed summary to CFG of their plan to transition all sow farms to what is commonly referred to as “pen gestation” by the year 2022. Pen gestation is defined by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards, which mandates that after being confirmed pregnant a sow must be placed in an open pen where she has freedom of movement, social interaction, and access to sufficient feed and water.
It takes years to complete the transition but we believe it’s the right thing to do. That means 100% of the hogs raised for Clemens Food Group pork products will be in free to roam group housing. This would make us the first company in the industry to do so.
Our harvest facility also has stringent controls in place to ensure animal care and respect are maintained throughout the harvesting process.
All team members at the plant undergo extensive training and we routinely receive the highest third party audit scores for our animal welfare.
We have 5 full time USDA staff members on site including one USDA veterinarian along with our own full-time staff vet. USDA’s Humane Slaughter Act (9 CFR 913) and the North American Meat Institute Animal Handling Guidelines are the foundation of our animal handling programs, training, policies and guidelines.
In 2014 Clemens Food Group, Hatfield transitioned to a CO2 anesthetizing system that allows pigs to move slowly and more calmly in small groups. This results in less stress for the pig as well as improved quality for our products.
Annual third party audits are conducted at both Hatfield and Coldwater by Merieux NutriSciences. They audit with the animal handling tool coordinated by the North American Meat Institute.
CFG has been presented with several awards, including the prestigious Knowlton Award, which recognizes, among other things, progressiveness in the area of proper animal welfare. But we continue to test new technologies and practices with an eye toward further increasing the well being of our hogs without jeopardizing their health or the safety of the food supply.