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Iowa Select Farms forced to euthanize some of swine herd

COVID-19 has caused many pork processing plants to shut down temporarily or reduce capacity because employees have tested positive for the virus. This decrease in capacity has created a backlog of hundreds of thousands of pigs staying on farms. Many pork producers have been forced to make difficult decisions on how to manage the backlog’s impact on their operations.

“The thought of euthanizing entire herds is devastating,” says Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms. “Sadly, Iowa Select has been forced to make this heartbreaking decision for some of its herd.”

Veterinarians and production well-being professionals are overseeing the process to ensure accordance with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and American Veterinary Medical Association, she says.

“This is sad and difficult work. Our team members grieve as they implement our plan. Yet, given the devastating effects of COVID-19 on those who work in food supply, there are few options,” says Sorenson.

READ MORE: 2 million pigs backed up on farms, plants still short labor, but there is good news

Animal activists are trying to exploit the situation to advance their own agenda, she says. Earlier this week, animal activists infiltrated a facility used by Iowa Select Farms and proceeded to taunt, harass, and videotape workers, says Sorenson. 

To access an interactive map that shows U.S. packing plant capacity, click here.

Read the American Association of Swine Veterinarians position on strategies for responding to processing disruption due to COVID-19 here.

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