Tyson Foods to audit treatment of animals on farm

Tyson Foods to audit treatment of animals on farm

Tyson Foods, Inc., a leading producer of meat and poultry in the United States, has announced it is launching a programme to personally audit the treatment of animals at the livestock and poultry farms that supply the company.

“Our company is made up of ethical, responsible and compassionate people, and we believe the family farmers who supply us share our values,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “We know more consumers want assurance their food is being produced responsibly, and we think two important ways to do that are by conducting on-farm audits while also continuing to research ways to improve how farm animals are raised.”

“Here’s what I want people to know: at Tyson, we care enough to check on the farm; and we’re determined to help find better ways to care for and raise healthy animals,” said Smith.

Tyson currently works with more than 12,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers. This includes 5,000 family poultry farmers, 3,000 family sheep farmers and 4,000 family cattle farmers.

“We believe the farmers who supply us are the best in the world, and I think the audits will verify this,” Smith said. “But, if we find problems, we want them fixed right away. To our knowledge, no other major US meat or poultry company offers this kind of service to its farmers, customers and consumers.”

FarmCheck™ Audit Program

The audits – called the Tyson FarmCheck™ Programme – have already begun on a trial basis on some of the 3,000 independent hog farms that supply the company. Auditors are visiting the farms to check on such things as animal access to food and water, as well as proper human-animal interaction and worker training.

The FarmCheck™ programme has been under development since early spring 2012. Although Tyson personnel have been conducting the audits so far, the company plans to ultimately involve independent, third party auditors. It also intends to expand the programme to include chicken and cattle farms by January 2014. The audits are being developed by experienced vets and animal welfare experts and are expected to include measures that build upon current voluntary farm industry programmes.

“These audits will give us a chance to correct any minor problems that are discovered and, if necessary, to stop doing business with any farms where animal treatment or conditions do not meet our standards,” Smith said.

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