Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fires five employees over violations, conducts comprehensive review of procedures

SLEEPY EYE, MINN. – Christensen Farms & Feedlots, Inc. has finished its internal investigation into the animal welfare violations brought to the company’s attention in early August. As a result of the investigation, the organization has terminated five employees and taken disciplinary action against five additional employees for violations of the company’s animal welfare policies. In addition, the organization has begun a comprehensive review of its animal welfare practices and will continue to affirm and strengthen its commitment to the proper care and treatment of its animals.

“Christensen Farms prides itself on a strong family farming tradition of care and respect for our animals,” Christensen Farms CEO Glenn Stolt said. “A strong culture of animal care is critical and essential to the success of our business and our ability to provide safe and affordable pork products. We continuously work with our employees and contract partners expressing the importance of both our moral obligation and responsibility to our customers and partners in the industry to ensure all Christensen Farms animals receive proper care.”

In addition to the disciplinary actions, Christensen Farms has taken, or is in the process of taking, a number of additional actions to ensure the uncompromising care and treatment of its animals.

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  • Christensen Farms has taken full public responsibility for the conditions at the farm and self-reported the violations to its business partners and industry associations.
  • The company continues to cooperate fully with local law enforcement, and invited investigators and a third-party veterinarian for a full tour of the site.
  • Senior production leaders have personally inspected the company’s entire herd. No further animal welfare violations have been identified.
  • Christensen Farms held a meeting with more than 200 contract growers and field service management to reiterate the company’s high animal welfare standards and zero-tolerance policy for abuse.
  • Christensen Farms is moving forward with third-party farm audits by FACTA (Farm Animal Care and Training Auditing), an industry leading audit firm, that were scheduled before the reports of animal welfare violations.
  • Christensen Farms is in the process of enhancing its already robust internal audit practices and procedures to identify and escalate potential issues.
  • Christensen Farms has reviewed and will enhance its standard operating procedures and provide its employees and contract partners’ additional education and training specific to any revised timely euthanasia practices and animal care standards.
  • The organization will continue training and certifying employees and contract partners with PQA Plus annual caretaker training and site assessments.
  • Christensen Farms continues to research and review technological solutions to further support and strengthen its animal welfare practices.

“We fully recognize the responsibility to retain credibility with our customers regarding animal welfare.  This incident is not a reflection of who we are; nor of the importance we put on the care for our animals,” added Stolt. “We are focused on using this disappointing situation to further enhance our processes and procedures. We are also going to dedicate more time in helping customers and consumers better understand and appreciate on-farm practices.”

About Christensen Farms & Feedlots, Inc.

Founded in 1974 as a small family operation, Christensen Farms is now one of the largest producers of pork in the United States, with operations throughout the Upper Midwest. Headquartered in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, Christensen Farms is a leading provider of quality pork products. 

Amber Portner
Office:  (507) 794-8616