Poultry Health & Welfare
Raising and processing poultry using best practices to preserve health and well-being
We ensure that the animals under our care are raised in an environment that satisfies their physical, nutritional and health needs, and that they are treated in a manner that minimizes their distress.
We do not tolerate abusive behavior directed at animals by employees, suppliers or others in our supply chain.
Cargill has been working to improve the health and welfare of animals for decades. Our operations touch the health and well-being of animals through our animal feed products, the work we do with our farmer partners, and the education we undertake with employees at our processing facilities. Animal welfare is an essential component of how we operate our plants and other company-owned facilities, which include turkey hatcheries in North America, as well as chicken farms in Asia, Central America and Europe. The humane treatment of animals in our supply chains and the respectful handling of animals in our care are critical to our business success.
We are proud to be recognized as an industry leader in animal welfare innovation. We are committed to leading our industry by developing, implementing and sharing animal welfare best practices. Our programs comply with, and often exceed, legal requirements.
Consumers increasingly want to know more about how and where their food is produced, and we are helping our customers evaluate and plan for transitions to alternative poultry housing systems. We respect customer and consumer choices and apply our supply chain expertise to meet evolving preferences. Cargill is a founding member of the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, a multi-stakeholder group that commissioned first-of-its-kind, commercial-scale research to evaluate different options for hen housing, including the potential impacts on hen health and well-being, the environment, food safety, worker health and safety, and food affordability.
Education and certification
We work extensively with our employees, farmer partners and others to ensure they are educated on how to properly handle animals with care and dignity:
Our turkey business in the United States educates employees, truck drivers and first responders on animal handling in emergencies. We are the only turkey producer in the U.S. to educate and certify all of our contract growers on how to properly handle birds. Our Certified Animal Handler program and on-farm audit program have been endorsed by Dr. Michael Hulet, animal science expert at Penn State University.
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 U.K., Oxford University certifies Cargill employees as Poultry Welfare Officers.
We have Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO)-certified auditors at each of our processing facilities.
In Canada, we helped lead an initiative to ensure safe transportation of broiler chickens. We created two Emergency Poultry Response Trailers in Ontario that are available to anyone in the industry to aid at the scene of an accident.
We lead the industry in third-party video auditing of our turkey and poultry processing facilities. In the U.K., we worked with Oxford University to develop motion-activated video equipment for our poultry business that enables early detection of potential health problems in our flocks. Our poultry business in the U.K. also was the first to install windows in all chicken houses.
Our poultry business in China was recognized in 2014 with the country’s first animal welfare award, jointly given by World Animal Protection, the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association and the China Agricultural Council for the Promotion of International Cooperation.
Turkeys raised without growth-promoting antibiotics
We are committed to reducing use of antibiotics in food production. We have eliminated growth-promoting antibiotics from our U.S. turkey business.
In the U.S., all fresh and frozen turkey produced under our Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms brands are made from turkeys raised without antibiotics used for growth promotion purposes, meeting the promise we made in early July 2014. These two turkey brands are the first to achieve such status on a large scale in the U.S. The change was made possible by the 700 independent family farms that raise our turkeys. All independent farmers and producers who raise our turkeys are trained in animal handling best practices. We use antibiotics in turkeys only for the treatment and prevention of illness. This farming program is certified as a USDA Process Verified Program.
Innovation in China and India
Cargill’s animal nutrition business in China and India introduced in 2015 a feed additive that helps improve microbiota balance and digestive functions in poultry using a mixture of essential oil compounds rather than growth-promoting antibiotics to improve gut health and performance. Learn more about feed additives that promote digestive health.
Poultry nutrition & feed
Learn about how Cargill’s animal nutrition business combines nutrient analysis and research to produce feed that promotes better health.
Animal Welfare Policy
Learn more about how we ensure the well-being of animals in our care.