Scope of Cargill's Commitment
Understanding the scope of a policy is important to understand the breadth of a company’s commitment to action on farm animal welfare.
Cargill’s Global Animal Wellbeing Commitment Statement includes the following:
- Cargill is dedicated to being a global leader in animal wellbeing. In addition to being ethically responsible, we care for animals in a manner that incorporates proven animal wellbeing science. Animals in our care are raised and harvested in a way that is balanced to achieve optimum benefits for animals while addressing societal needs. Our responsibility covers all animals under our care, including cattle, broiler chickens and turkeys at every point of the supply chain. We expect the same level of care for animals from suppliers, such as contract egg producers, as we do for our own animals.
- Cargill ensures that the animals under our care are raised in a setting that allows the expression of natural behaviors considered appropriate for their respective rearing situations. Our animals are also provided environments that satisfy their nutritional needs to safeguard them against hunger and thirst. It is our obligation to ensure that animals are healthy and, in instances of injury or illness, animals will receive appropriate medical treatment. If any animal is found to be in distress, or not responding to medical care, the animal will be humanely euthanized to relieve any potential pain or suffering.
- Cargill has designed and established animal wellbeing programs that meet or exceed all applicable legal and regulatory requirements. We are dedicated to educating and engaging our employees about the appropriate way to care and handle animals and we are continuously reviewing and improving our animal wellbeing standards.
- Continual improvement will ensure proper animal husbandry as well as enhanced worker safety. We hold ourselves, and our industry partners, accountable for the humane treatment of animals. Animals should be treated with dignity and respect. If any instance of animal mistreatment or abuse is discovered, we will immediately employ corrective actions up to, and including, termination of employment and legal action.
- Cargill will continue to pioneer the development and implementation of strategies and tools that improve animal wellbeing for our global meat and poultry businesses.
What we do to support our commitment
- We were the first major beef processor to incorporate third-party remote video auditing (RVA) of animal welfare practices, by Arrowsight, at all of our North American harvest facilities. Additionally, we are an industry leader in installing third-party RVA monitoring at our turkey harvest facilities.
- Prior to selling our pork processing business in late 2015, we were the first in the industry to institute a policy of purchasing hogs in the United States only from farms that have been certified under the National Pork Producers Council’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) program, which includes strong animal welfare standards.
- As part of our long-standing commitment to the humane treatment and handling of animals, Cargill supports the elimination of gestation stall housing for sows. We are asking our pork suppliers to present actionable plans that address both the elimination of gestation stalls within the pork supply chain. We recognize that implementing a phase-out may be a long-term process, and could take up to 10 years. Cargill intends to continue working with pork suppliers who share our commitment to the best animal welfare and handling practices.
- Our turkey business in the United States runs programs to educate employees, truck drivers and first responders on animal handling in the case of emergencies. We are the only turkey producer in the United States to educate and certify all of our contract growers on how to properly handle birds. Our Animal Handler program and our on-farm audit program have been endorsed by animal science expert Dr. Michael Hulet of Penn State University.
- In 2014, prior to selling our pork processing business in late 2015, we announced the phase-out of sow gestation crates for all company owned sows. The transition was completed at our facilities in early 2015, and is scheduled to be completed at third-party supplier facilities by the end of 2017.
- Our poultry business in China was recognized in 2014 with China’s first animal welfare award by the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association, the China Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural Cooperation and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
- We are working with Oxford University, in the United Kingdom (UK), to develop video motion equipment for our poultry business that will enable early detection of certain potential health issues in flocks.
- Our poultry business in the UK was the first to install windows in all its chicken houses.
- Our European poultry supply chain has achieved 100 percent accreditation under the Red Tractor, or equivalent, food assurance schemes for high standards of animal welfare, food safety and hygiene.
In the UK, Cargill's European poultry business understands the importance of proper animal welfare for its chicken business, and embraces a commitment to uphold the highest standards. Our chicken meat is sourced from leading poultry companies, with live birds cared for by experienced personnel throughout our global supply chains, and in compliance with all applicable regulations. Our suppliers operate with comprehensive agricultural assurance schemes, most of which are externally audited by independent third-party organizations.
Birds are reared within specialized, controlled, environments that are managed with strict biosecurity procedures to provide protection from potential illness and predators. These chickens are able to move freely throughout purpose-built houses and to exhibit natural behaviors, with unrestricted access to food and water to fully meet their nutritional needs. Trained and capable farmers closely monitor all flocks daily to ensure their best possible health at all times and medicines are used only when necessary and under the control of authorized veterinary personnel in accordance with European regulations. Key welfare indicators and other measurements are recorded on a daily basis to ensure that any abnormal trends are identified as quickly as possible.
Poultry meat production takes place in hygienic, EU approved, facilities, operating with trained staff and with proven stunning processes that minimizes stress. Product traceability back to farms where birds were reared is maintained at all times.
Cargill recognizes the need to develop and maintain sustainable poultry systems and will continue to take a holistic approach that protects animal welfare, takes into account the impact on the environment and which also recognizes the needs of consumers and other stakeholders.