We know that better meat makes better cured meats, and better meat relies on humane husbandry.
Since the founding of our business a core pillar continues to be supporting the kinds of farm systems and animal husbandry practices that we believe in to make the best cured meats that you can buy. This has meant working closely with the farmers who raise the pigs we buy to develop standards and protocols for the animals in their care.
All of our suppliers adhere to the following protocol:
- Hogs must be raised humanely with access to the outdoors
- Hogs must have the opportunity to express their natural animal instincts, such as:
- Social interactions
- Exploration and play: sufficient space and enriched environments
- Rest: deep, clean bedding
- Low-stress living, breeding, transportation, and harvesting environments
- Crates or cages - all pigs must have room to move around and socially congregate and be able to root in deep bedding. This respects the pigs’ social instincts and natural behaviors.
- Antibiotics, ionophores, hormones, or synthetic hormones.
- CAFOs (large animal confinement facilities).
- Animal byproducts, which helps avoid numerous health and environmental problems.
Industrial farming has consolidated the pork industry and these large producers have also fought to lower the standards for the animals that they are raising.
Confinement breeding now dominates the business where pigs spend their entire life packed in windowless metal sheds. Since 1992, in our home state of Iowa, the population of pigs has increased by more than 50% while the number of farms raising hogs have declined by over 80%.
These big producers have had a big impact on the water quality near these massive production facilities which contaminate local watersheds with nutrient overload and local state park beaches are often forced to close due to the risks posed by toxins and bacteria. Many residents who live nearby are plagued by the stench, flies and health problems brought on by the conditions that accompany raising hogs at this sort of scale.
When you only rely on a few simple ingredients you can’t hide the tasteless pork that is produced under these inhumane conditions.