The Humane Society of the United States has filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asserting National Pork Producers Council is engaging in deceptive advertising related to animal well-being in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

HSUS posted a press release on its website April 18 alleging the pork industry's public descriptions of its "We Care Initiative" and "Pork Quality Assurance Plus" program are riddled with false claims regarding the welfare of pigs.

HSUS contends the "abusive practices" allowed by those programs are "fundamentally inconsistent with the Pork Council's public claims." Those practices, it claims, include containment of breeding sows, use of gestation crates and tail docking.

"Rather than investing in real animal welfare reforms, the Pork Council is betting the farm on a deceptive PR campaign designed to mislead consumers with false assurances," said Jonathan Lovvorn, HSUS senior vice president for animal protection litigation.

A statement by National Pork Producers Council released April 18 said NPPC will analyze the complaint once it is made public and will "vigorously defend against the absolutely false claims made by HSUS as set."

The FTC complaint is the latest attack by animal-rights activists on America's hog farmers, and NPPC looks forward to the FTC quickly dismissing HSUS's complaint, the statement said.

Standards and practices in the industry have been designed with input from veterinarians and other animal-care experts, it stated.

-- Carol Ryan Dumas

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