Measurement and Reporting
We believe companies should explain how they have performed against their policy commitments, against the objectives and targets, and provide an explanation of progress and trends in performance. Cargill’s corporate animal welfare team has a system in place for tracking and monitoring our progress and performance. As an example, our U.S. egg business carefully tracks the increase in our cage-free offerings. We also have a long-term animal welfare strategy that establishes goals, activities and deliverables within specified timeframes.
Our overarching animal welfare policy is based on The Five Freedoms developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC). Correspondingly, our internal audits, as well as many third party audits, are conducted in our supply chain based on those Five Freedoms. Cargill ensures that we perform in accordance with our policy commitments and objectives, and targets, primarily through our internal and external third-party audits.
Although we do not publicly disclose our audit results, we are stringent about, and committed to, maintaining a high level of performance with regards to animal welfare, ensuring that we meet, or exceed, audit requirements. Our animal welfare metrics span a variety of guidelines, audit tools and requirements from various organizations:
- North American Meat Institute (NAMI)
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)
- National Cattle Feeders Association (NCFA)
- United Egg Producers (UEP)
- National Chicken Council (NCC)
- National Turkey Federation (NTF)
- National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)
- Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA)
- Food Safety Net Services (FSNS)
- Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO)
- Red Tractor
Those responsible for all species, from all geographical locations, are expected to follow applicable measurements from these organizations, and are subject to regular auditing.
One measurable example of Cargill’s commitment is in the form of our own turkey brands – Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms – with products free from growth-promoting antibiotics.
Another example is Cargill’s 2016 decision to reduce the use of antibiotics medically important to human health in cattle owned by the company. Cargill has reduced, by approximately 20%, the use of these shared-class antibiotics, and does not use growth promoting antibiotics in company owned cattle.
Additionally, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) stewards a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification program that trains cattle producers in best practices. Cargill has made the commitment to ensure 90 percent of our U.S. fed beef cattle supply is supplied by feed yards that are BQA certified by 2018. We will communicate our progress and as equivalent programs are introduced in other beef sectors, we will adopt them.
Farm assurance schemes provide frameworks for managing farm animals, including their health and welfare, provenance and the regulatory compliance of the systems used. They can also play an important role in promoting higher welfare standards. Where species-specific legislation exists, schemes should ensure that minimum legislative standards are met and, preferably, schemes should lift the standards above the minimum. Where there is no species-specific legislation, assurance standards are increasingly important for protecting welfare.
When we owned a pork processing business, 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 one of the UK’s leading chicken companies, we only source our birds from experienced farmers who are independently audited against detailed and comprehensive welfare management systems. All of the birds we source, and then process, are reared to Red Tractor Farm Assurance standards, which guarantees they have been reared responsibly. All our chickens are provided with access to natural daylight and enriched environments to provide stimulation during the rearing process. Red Tractor Farm Assurance is a world recognized standard which exceeds EU legislation and UK legal requirements, thereby providing us with confidence in the traceability of our chicken supply chain.
In addition to our UK business, which offers chicken produced to Red Tractor Farm Assurance standards, our Canadian broilers are grown to meet the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s (CFC) and National Chicken Council’s (NCC) guidelines, as well as specific animal welfare customer requirements. Our US turkey business has a rigorous internal turkey welfare standard that is reviewed and updated annually; our turkey products also come from animals that are reared to meet the National Turkey Federation (NTF) guidelines. Our cattle adhere to North American Meat Institute (NAMI) as well as the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) standards. Our eggs come from hens that are reared according to United Egg Producers (UEP) standards. Lastly, each of our processing plants in North America abide by the NAMI guidelines.
Our purpose-built UK Hereford facilities operate under Government inspection through the daily supervision of an Official Veterinary Surgeon who, in addition to checking hygiene and quality standards, independently monitors bird welfare at every stage.”