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September 24, 2003   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
September 24, 2003

The Pork Checkoff's Swine Welfare Assurance ProgramSM (SWAPSM) is now available to all U.S. pork producers as the first objective and voluntary program to measure welfare of swine on the farm. This educational assessment will allow producers to evaluate and benchmark the care and welfare of their animals, and address any welfare concerns in a scientifically sound manner.

"This voluntary program is a very important tool in helping producers evaluate their production," said Kathy Chinn, a producer from Clarence, Mo. and chairman of the Pork Checkoff Animal Welfare Committee. "It also shows customers and retailers we take our tradition of responsible animal care through scientifically sound animal care practices very seriously."

Because markets eventually may require producers to follow welfare guidelines, SWAP is intended to give producers the ability to show they are practicing science-based production practices, in a practical, producer-developed and producer-implementable way. 

"SWAP was over three years in the making," said Chinn.  "The reality of the program is that it incorporates the latest scientific production principles into a program that is practical and user-friendly to any producer. SWAP can be applied to any production system, regardless of size, type or geographical location.  So now, all producers have a tool to assist in measuring and tracking welfare on the farm and to use that to help them produce pork humanely and efficiently."

The on-farm voluntary assessments will be performed by Certified SWAP EducatorsSM (CSEs), who have been trained and tested on evaluating animal welfare to assure they are familiar with the program and how it applies to pork producers. To locate a CSE, contact state Swine Extension, the state pork producer office, or the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-PORK or www.porkboard.org.

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