Our Corporate Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) is comprised of passionate team members who work diligently to guide and support our business units and supply partners in fortifying our responsibility to humane animal care and handling while driving continuous improvement throughout our supply chain.
The Office of Animal Welfare staff oversees the implementation of the FarmCheck® program, including engagement with the Advisory Panel, delivering on research objectives and execution of the audit program, through which third-party auditors check the livestock and poultry farms that supply us to ensure they meet a variety of animal welfare criteria, including animal condition, environment, training and proper human-animal interaction.
Each of our facilities that harvest animals in the U.S., including chicken, turkey, beef and pork plants, is directly supported by a professionally trained and certified animal welfare specialist. These specialists conduct internal audits of our facilities and provide service, assistance and expertise to our team members about animal welfare. Specialists are embedded in the day-to-day operations at each facility, partnering with operations teams to identify opportunities for improvement, share best practices and return value to the business. They also serve as advocates for the animals themselves and work to enhance our animal welfare culture and awareness throughout our facilities.
This team was the first in the industry to be certified as Internal Auditors by PAACO. The continuous education required of our specialists annually to keep their certification makes them a critical resource on animal welfare across our entire company. Due to this extensive knowledge, specialists also support and lead team member training on animal handling and welfare.
Our animal welfare specialists gather each year at a Welfare Summit to collaborate with their peers on various animal welfare opportunities they have identified at the facilities they support. During these working sessions, animal welfare improvement projects are presented and best practices are shared. Since 2018, 120 animal welfare improvement projects have been presented and best practices shared during these working sessions. In addition to peer collaboration, outside experts are engaged to host learning sessions and answer Q&A.
Our vertically integrated systems allow our poultry welfare specialists to also support the FarmCheck® program through supplemental internal auditing of essential parts of the animal handling process on our contract poultry farms in the U.S. They monitor animal welfare on-farm, assisting farmers in complying with animal welfare policies and regulations.
Our external Animal Welfare Advisory Panel not only provides guidance on current animal welfare topics, but also helps us:
The Panel’s direction helps to ensure we’re taking a leadership position on the most relevant and critical areas of animal welfare. Read bios of panel members here.
The intent of the Panel is to maintain a balanced dialogue that includes experts from across various fields, including academia, regulatory, producers and scientists, to bring a diversity of perspectives on animal behavior, health, welfare, production and ethics. Meetings include sub-groups focused on each supply chain (beef, pork and poultry) to allow for more in-depth discussion and guidance that is relevant to the current challenges we face as a company today.
The Panel continues to help us identify potential gaps and opportunities for improvement in animal welfare, such as focusing our research on poultry lighting, environmental enrichments, facility design and animal housing.
In late 2020, a global initiative within Tyson Foods was launched to bring the best animal welfare minds within our newly expanded global company together with the purpose of providing an open forum where directed and meaningful discussions can occur which foster the One Tyson approach to animal welfare through realizing consensus in program governance, sharing best practices and innovative research, discussing emerging issues, and harmonizing global standards.
Our culture is grounded in comprehensive animal welfare training and accountability. Team members are required to report any acts of abuse immediately to their supervisor or by calling our third-party, anonymous ethics and compliance hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To further drive our culture of accountability, two new concepts have been introduced across the company, 100/0 and See it? Stop it! Behind 100/0 is that every individual is 100% accountable or responsible for their actions and there are 0 excuses if things should not go as planned. It does not mean that opportunities don’t occur, but it does mean that individuals take responsibility to correct the opportunities when they arise. This is the way in which we want every team member to approach their responsibility relative to welfare. See it? Stop it! builds on the 100/0 concept of individual accountability but takes it a step further to encompass not only the individual’s own actions but also holds each individual accountable for ensuring that the system and its participants are compliant with Tyson Foods' animal welfare expectations. See it? Stop it! simply states that if an individual sees something that is not compliant with our expectation, it is their responsibility to address it, report it or elevate it.
Our expert animal welfare specialists provide comprehensive animal welfare training to every team member that comes in contact with live animals. This consists of training prior to entry, tests to ensure understanding of proper techniques, and confirmation of agreement to comply with animal welfare requirements. Those in positions that require live animal handling—including catch crews, livestock haulers and team members in breeding, grow-out houses and harvest facilities—complete more extensive animal welfare training in advance of interacting with live animals. This expectation also extends to any team member, visitor or supplier who may have intermittent or limited access to live animal handling areas. In addition, the animal welfare specialists receive continuous education and in turn, pass those learnings on to the team members responsible for handling animals as well as the plant facility animal welfare committee.
As our animal welfare culture has evolved at Tyson Foods, we made a strategic decision to transition from the Five Freedoms to the Five Domains. The Five Freedoms have been at the center of animal welfare science for the last 25 years, and we acknowledge their significance in the development of our welfare program. Within any scientific discipline, however, there is evolution of ideas as more is learned and debated. The increasing need to measure welfare outcomes has led to the re-framing of the Five Freedoms into The Five Domains. The Five Domains is a more modern conceptual framework of animal welfare that includes the promotion of the positive aspects of nutrition, environment, health, behavior and the animal’s mental state. Focusing on the importance of positive experiences, as well as avoiding suffering, encourages us to use technology, research and creativity to find ways to protect animal welfare. Progress on this area is essential for continuous improvement in welfare standards and we have begun to operationalize the Five Domains across Tyson’s global operations.