Ongoing Commitment to Animal Welfare
Humane handling on the farm
Our global animal welfare approach includes initiatives that promote continuous engagement and the development of a positive animal welfare culture, as well as accountability for animal wellbeing throughout an animal’s life. This includes a setting that allows them – as much as possible – to express natural behaviors considered appropriate for their respective rearing situations.
All Cargill suppliers and external manufacturers (SEMs) involved in primary animal production must treat animals with care and respect, provide efficient nutrients, and use antibiotics responsibly and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. SEMs must have a robust, systematic approach to animal handling in place that addresses management commitment, hiring practices, employee training, regular monitoring, documentation of deficiencies and corrective actions, as outlined by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) or country equivalent guidelines.
Humane handling at processing
All animals processed by Cargill and our suppliers are stunned prior to processing. This renders an animal unconscious before it is processed so it is insensible to pain, discomfort and stress until death occurs. Cargill ensures that all conventional meat and poultry comes from animals that have been rendered unconscious prior to processing. Humane handling also encompasses facility design, training of animal-handling personnel, organizational guidelines and policies and regulatory compliance.
To qualify as an approved supplier to Cargill, all animal harvesting facilities, regardless of species, must meet specific animal handling requirements, including annual audits based on current and relevant animal handling guidelines in the country of operation. Audits for facilities located in North America shall be performed by a Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) certified auditor.
Cargill understands live animal transportation can create stress. We do everything possible to lower the stress level for animals being transported to our processing facilities, including minimizing transportation times. This applies to all species across our businesses. Our global commitment is to limit transportation times to a maximum of 8 hours for all live animals.
Our global businesses also abide by regional and local animal transportation regulations and transit times. In regions of the world where transportation regulations may not exist, we adhere to industry best practices and animal welfare transportation requirements of third-party external guidelines and audits.
Industry standards and guidelines
For some regions in which we operate, there are voluntary industry standards and guidelines that have been developed by the scientific committees of their respective organizations. These voluntary standards are species-specific and often exceed government regulations. Cargill has supported and adopted many of these industry standards, including:
- Developing China’s first animal welfare standards for farm animals
- Participating in the development of Canada’s Codes of Practice as a member of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)
- Participating on the National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation animal welfare committees that develop U.S. industry guidelines
- Slaughtering 100% of our cattle in the U.S. and Canada according to North American Meat Institute (NAMI) standards (Cargill serves as a technical contributor to these guidelines)
- Meeting and exceeding our commitment that 90% of our U.S. feed yard cattle supply come from yards that are Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified, a program that educates cattle producers in animal handling best practices, including optimal antibiotic use
These standards are often the foundation for third-party audits, as well as internal audits, required within our supply chain and aligned to our policy commitments. These audits are conducted in our supply chain based on the Five Domains. This system ensures that we perform in accordance with our policy commitments, objectives and targets. Although we do not publicly disclose our audit results, we are committed to maintaining a high level of animal welfare performance, ensuring that we meet or exceed audit requirements.
All animals under Cargill’s care are given care that meets or exceeds government regulations. These regulations were created to ensure livestock and poultry are handled humanely at processing facilities. Producers, transporters and company employees are obligated by law to abide by these regulations.