Tyson imposes animal welfare requirements on beef producers

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As consumers grow more concerned with animal welfare issues, Tyson says beef producers will have to follow on-farm requirements for animal treatment next year if they want to work with the major meat processor.

Tyson made the decision as it’s received customer feedback from major food companies including Whole Foods and McDonald’s. Tyson already requires its hog producers to follow specific guidelines and will now enforce its higher animal welfare standards on beef and poultry producers.

The animal-handling practices will be implemented by a third-party auditor who will visit farms to ensure compliance. The Des Moines Register reports the auditor will review animal handling practices and confirm animals have access to adequate feed and water.

Cattle producers heard the news from Lora Wright, Tyson’s beef supply chain manager, at the Iowa Cattlemen Association’s annual convention. Many of the practices are already practiced, so the change will be in the requirement for producers to document practices.

Following the audit, producers will learn if their practices are approved, in need of improvement, or unacceptable.

Tyson Foods’ FarmCheck program was implemented for all of its pork producers. Wright said the audit system has yet to give a hog farm a rating of ‘unacceptable,’ but did remove an Oklahoma producer from its supply chain after an undercover video found incidents of animal cruelty.

The company’s FarmCheck program ensures the best practices for the farm which are reviewed by a panel of 13 animal welfare experts.



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anonymous    
December, 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

F tyson They ARE the problem and now they want to send some clueless twit to audit farmers.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  December, 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM

If you don't have the guts to say who your are shut the F up! And they are trying to be constructive in their actions, unlike you.

00rancher    
NW Iowa  |  December, 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Our beef customers want to come to our place to make sure we are humane and taking care of our cattle. Many of the younger generation seem to be feeling pretty strongly about this and many of our middle- aged and older customers are beginning to express the same sentiments. I believe that this will help us convince the general public that 99.99% of us care about our animals. Tyson sees and hears the same thing. Its a good thing....market driven and not a government mandate

dale shoemaker    
indiana  |  December, 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I don't know what the requirements will be. We treat our finishing cattle humanely and they are finished free range. I will hold of on an opinion until I see what it is all about. Tyson has purchased almost all of our cattle in the last 10 years. So you either play ball with them or go out of business.

anonymous    
December, 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM

Two different Oregon appeals courts have elevated animals to "victum status" leading to equal rights with people, so keep an eye on this newest development.

Sam    
Ohio  |  December, 11, 2013 at 04:48 PM

Back in the day we used to call these guys " Cattle Buyers"! They used to be cattlemen who knew what they were buying, knew the people they bot from and were knowledgable enough to give good advice and fair warning if they saw something they didn't like. If things didn't improve they didn't come back. The real good cattle buyers would even help with rations, make personnel recommendations, even buy seed stock for their suppliers. What happend?

Bill M    
Colo.  |  December, 11, 2013 at 06:30 PM

I strongly suggest everybody express their free will and do business with any Beef Processor than Tyson. They aren't the only Company out there and this is over the top. Nobody in the Cattle business abuses their animals and stays in business. This is no different than the Govt' and just because it's supposedly Private Business doesn't make it any better.

Diana B    
Iowa  |  December, 12, 2013 at 03:00 PM

Do what you like, but if Tyson can gain consumer confidence and pay more for cattle I don't see any harm in this. That is unless you already know your operation won't stand up to scrutiny.

maxine    
SD  |  December, 12, 2013 at 04:25 PM

For cattle producers already following Beef Quality Audit protocols, this should be no problem IF Tyson also is using a system based on recommendations of proper animal stewardship designed by animal science experts. That it all has to be documented due to pressure from those working for animal RIGHTS laws is troubling, since those people are determined to end all uses of animals, rather than working to assure proper care of animals.

Amanda    
Ohio  |  December, 16, 2013 at 01:16 PM

As a producer and a consumer I can appreciate the intended good will here. However, the question I would pose back to Tyson is, will they require all producers to sign that same agreement when they drop their cattle off at the local stockyard or market? Tyson (and it's affiliates) contract buyers to sit in sale barns and purchase "unconfirmed" cattle to fill orders. This same act was occurring when Tyson wanted to eliminate buying Zilmax fed cattle, that too was not disclosed by producers when selling through local markets. Not saying it is right or wrong, just posing the question to consider all sides.


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