Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 17

BIGGER LESSONS LEARNED
Among the lessons learned from the negative
experience include addressing the fragility
of the supply chain according to one of the
world's foremost animal welfare experts.
"We've got to do things to make the supply
chain more flexible both on the live end, and
there is now a lot of interest in building some
smaller packing plants," said Temple Grandin,
PhD, professor of animal science at Colorado
State University.
She suggested that plants deal with a
surplus of hogs resulting from labor shortages
by processing hogs into larger cuts, like hams,
loins and shoulders and ship them from plants
to facilities where they could then be cut up.
"The amount of wasted pigs; thousands
of pigs had to be killed and thrown away, and
some of them were killed in ways that were bad;
pigs had it absolutely the worst. Beef, they just
put them on hay, that wasn't anywhere near as
bad and chickens have a shorter life cycle. The
amount of pigs in the Midwest that were just
destroyed; it was an animal welfare issue, and it
was also a horrendous, awful food waste issue."
Grandin said COVID-19-related challenges
have, at the very least, slowed any further
development in animal welfare while bringing
to light some new opportunities.
"I think some things have been kind of
paused," she said of animal welfare progress
advances in the past eight months. "I'm not
going to say that things have slid back to the
'bad ol' days,' that's definitely not true, but it
hasn't helped matters."
In-person animal welfare audits that are
part of many meat supplier agreements with
customers, for example, have been made almost
impossible as most plants have banned visits to
their facilities from outsiders as a biosecurity
intervention to minimize the risk of exposure to
the virus in plants. One option being explored is
using video technology to perform audits.
"Some of them can be replaced with
strapping a video camera onto a person and the
auditor makes them walk around the plant."
She added that a remotely located auditor
directing someone around a plant using body
cameras or even an iPhone would only be
recommended at facilities well known to
the auditor.
"I would do some of that in a plant I knew
very well," Grandin said. "I wouldn't do it with a

new plant. There is still a need to do some live
audits, but I think this could cut down on it."
To ensure animal handling education
continues during the pandemic, some training
has shifted to virtual formats, including
training from the Professional Animal Auditor
Certification Organization (PAACO). Organizers
of the North American Meat Institute's 2020
Animal Care & Handling Conference, held
annually in October, also successfully shifted to
an online event this past month.
Maintaining training is a priority, with or
without COVID-19, Grandin said.
She reiterated: "Why is auditing so
important? It's important because it's just like
monitoring traffic. If the speed limit wasn't
monitored by the police, imagine what the
traffic would be like on a freeway. It takes
constant monitoring. I can remember before
we had the audits - 'the bad ol' days' - and they
were bad."

SURPLUS SNAFUS
With plants unable to maintain normal
production volumes due to COVID-19-related
disruptions, producers were faced with an
overflowing supply of hogs and millions of
perfectly healthy hogs had to be euthanized.
For Jason McAlister, director of animal welfare
at Kansas City, Mo.-based Triumph Foods, April
29, 2020, sticks out in his mind as a negative
reminder of COVID-19. It was then that daily
hog slaughter number compared to the same
day the previous year lagged by more than
203,000 pigs, he told attendees at NAMI's
virtual Animal Care & Handling Conference.
He recalled thinking, "Worker shortages
are continuing, the animal supply chain is
backing up and we have to start on some mass
depopulation events.
"It was the worst possible outcome for any
of us that love animals. We harvest animals for
a reason. We do it for food and when we have
to do it for something that's not food, it is really
heartbreaking to us."
Sara Crawford, PhD, assistant vice
president of sustainability with the National
Pork Board (NPB) echoed how the situation
was unavoidable because the bottleneck was at
the processing plant level across the country.
"It did not affect our live hog availability,"
she said, during another presentation at
the conference. "We had the same amount

"The amount
of pigs in
the Midwest
that were just
destroyed;
it was an
animal
welfare
issue, and it
was also a
horrendous,
awful food
waste issue."
- TEMPLE GRANDIN



Meat+Poultry - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - November 2020

Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 2
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 3
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 4
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 5
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 6
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 7
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 8
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 9
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 10
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 11
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 12
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Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 14
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 15
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 16
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 17
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 18
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 19
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 20
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 21
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 22
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 23
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 24
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 25
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Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 50
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - VDG1
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - VDG2
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 51
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 52
Meat+Poultry - November 2020 - 53
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