The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has reportedly filed a legal
complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that the National
Pork Producers Council (NPPC) “is engaging in deceptive advertising related to
animal well-being in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act,” according
to an April 18, 2012, press release. In particular, the complaint apparently
maintains that NPPC’s “We Care Initiative” and “Pork Quality Assurance [PQA] Plus” program “are riddled with numerous false claims regarding the welfare
of pigs, including the trade group’s patently false claim that its PQA Plus
program helps to ‘ensure that all animals in the pork industry continue to
receive humane care and handling.’”

In support of these assertions, HSUS claims to have documented pork
industry practices “that most consumers do not consider humane such as the
extreme confinement of breeding sows in two-foot-wide metal cages, and
painful procedures such as tail ‘docking,’ which is typically performed without
any form of pain relief.” It has called for “prompt FTC action” to bar NPPC from
publicizing its PQA Plus program and “We Care Initiative.”

Meanwhile, NPPC has refuted the FTC complaint and promised to “vigorously
defend” against it. “America’s hog farmers are committed to providing
humane and compassionate care for their pigs at every stage of life,” NPPC
told Advertising Age. “U.S. hog farmers are the ones who ensure the well-being
of their animals and who are dedicated to producing safe, affordable and
healthful foods for consumers—using standards and practices that have been
designed with input from veterinarians and other animal-care experts—not groups that spend well-over half of the donations they receive on soliciting more contributions and, apparently, the other portion on suing American
farmers.” See Advertising Age and Pork Magazine, April 18, 2012.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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