Meeting Our Animal Welfare Objectives: Some Examples
Objectives and targets form the confluence where policy commitments are translated into substantive action, and where resources and responsibilities are allocated to achieve these goals.
Regarding our egg business, 100% of our contracted supply originates from farms which are either United Egg Producers (UEP) compliant or UEP certified. This is confirmed by an independent, third-party audit, which is conducted annually. The audit sets objectives and target requirements in several areas, including hen housing, space, air quality, feed and water, biosecurity, bird movement, waste mitigation and care.
While Cargill does not own any egg laying hens, we require our egg suppliers to have a written biosecurity plan in place. We work with them to ensure they are employing the best animal handling practices, biosecurity and disease control measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza and other diseases that may pose a health risk to animals or people. Cargill Protein convenes a yearly Biosecurity Summit with its key egg suppliers to share best practices and understand how past biosecurity improvements are working.
Cargill was also the first major protein producer to implement third-party remote video auditing (RVA) systems in all of our turkey plants and beef plants in the U.S. And, we also implemented the third-party RVA system in our Canadian chicken processing plant. This tool helps us manage, and meet, our animal welfare accountability goals, and allows us to maintain high standards of animal handling and care at our processing plants.
At our Canadian broiler chicken business, in support of continuous improvement in animal welfare, Cargill has initiated the process for transitioning from an electric water stunning system to a Controlled Atmospheric Stunning (CAS) system. An internal committee has been charged with the responsibility to carefully choose and implement the system which will best address bird welfare while also meeting our business needs. The completion of this project is estimated to take place in 2018.
In our North America beef business, we have implemented a new euthanasia procedure (2015) at our eight harvest plants. Accepted by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the procedure’s simplicity is its appeal, and its efficiency and effectiveness lead to a fast and safe result, which improves animal welfare and employee safety.