Tyson Foods rools out new animal welfare program
The company implemented the meat industry’s most extensive third-party remote video auditing system to cover the 33 poultry plants of Tyson Foods. The world’s largest team of animal well-being specialists and is introducing a pilot project for controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) also will be implemented at two of its poultry facilities this year. Video screening from cameras at the chicken plants are analyzed by a trained off-site auditors team and the data feedback is provided daily, weekly and monthly to the management to deliver excellence in animal welfare.
Tyson Foods also is launching an innovative RVA pilot project to assess on-farm catching of birds for transport to processing facilities. In addition to video monitoring, Tyson Foods is also the first company to employ specialists for animal well-beeing at all of its beef, pork and poultry plants. This includes at least one person at every processing plant that handles live animals, to work together with the company’s Head Office for animal well-being.
The specialists have experience in either processing plant or live chicken operations and will have continual training. They have participated in animal welfare webinars and a week-long summit. They are also taking a certification course through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO).
Support of the use of gas as a more humane way to render the bird unconscious before processing has increased over the past several years among scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare advocates, since it eliminates the handling of conscious birds. The company will evaluate the results of the pilot program to determine if CAS is a reasonable alternative to the existing method before it makes decisions about deploying it at other facilities.
Tyson Foods is also making intensive research into chicken house lighting and enrichments for the birds. In addition, the company continues to work with its poultry breeding suppliers on the important relationship between breeding and bird health.