Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is a top priority on my farm, here’s why

The general public has a lot of misconceptions about what we do as pig farmers, and it’s our responsibility to not just do the right thing for our animals but also communicate to our consumers the work we put in — from daily work on our farms to formal education and training — to ensure our pigs live safe, healthy lives.

I’m a caretaker of animals. I’m also a businessman. These two components of my job as an Illinois pig farmer converge in my intense focus on animal welfare.

As one of the We CareSM Principles, maintaining the highest standards for animal care is a top priority on my pig farm for many reasons. It’s paramount to our success as pig farmers on multiple levels.

So why is animal welfare so important to pig farmers?

First and foremost, it’s our ethical responsibility to provide the best care possible for our animals. I know that the animals under my care live for a specific purpose, and their entire existence is dedicated to a specific goal. That makes it my job to ensure pigs on my family’s farm live healthy, comfortable lives free of illness and disease and with everything they need to achieve full physical potential.

We work hard to provide clean barns with ample space for each animal, good ventilation, and a plentiful supply of feed and water. We want our pigs to be healthy and achieve their potential because our farm’s future depends on it.

Our consumer expects a consistent, high-quality product. Maintaining the highest standards for animal welfare helps pig farmers provide exactly what the consumer demands. With the demand for high-quality protein increasing worldwide, the emphasis on strong animal care will continue to grow. That means pig farmers will always keep animal care as a top priority and be willing to evolve their farms to ensure we continue to meet consumer needs for high-quality protein produced in the most ethical ways possible.

As America’s Pig Farmer of the Year in 2018, it’s been my pleasure to lead efforts to help pig farmers not only attain the highest levels of animal welfare on their farms, but also communicate those efforts to the public. But even after my term is completed, I’ll continue those efforts and implore every other pig farmer to do the same. Yes, pig farming is our business. It’s also our responsibility as caretakers of animals.

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Pat Bane
Pat Bane and piglet
Photo courtesy of the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff.