Food Giant Sends Powerful Message to Livestock Producers
By Jean-Paul McDonald, Farms.com
In what seems to be a growing trend, food manufacturing giant Tyson Foods has launched the “Tyson FarmCheck Program”, an audit program that effectively demands a certain level of animal welfare practice from their meat suppliers – starting with the hog industry. The audit program is designed to ensure that animal welfare is practiced at the highest standards and any meat that the company purchases from its suppliers has met the company’s standards for the humane treatment of animals.
The company says that the audits are being developed by “experienced veterinarians and animal welfare experts” and are expected to include measures that build upon current voluntary farm industry programs. Tyson currently works with more than 12,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers. This includes 5,000 poultry farmers, 3,000 hog farmers and 4,000 cattle ranchers.
In February of 2012, Fast-Food titan McDonalds announced that it was demanding plans from all of its U.S pork suppliers on how they will phase out gestation crates (also known as farrowing stalls). This was quickly followed by Burger King, who also wants their pork suppliers to put an end to the use of gestation crates for breeding pigs. Burger King has also pledged to use only 100% cage-free eggs by the year 2017. Kraft Foods has also joined the cause and announced in July that they too will be eliminating gestation crates from Oscar Meyer’s pork supply chain by 2022. The number of consumer-facing businesses who are making this transition is growing by the day, with both Dunkin Donuts and ConAgra foods also pledging to put an end to the use of gestation crates in their pork supply chain.
As we enter a new era of food transparency, it’s important that food manufacturing companies and restaurants listen to the concerns of consumers, and ensures that the consumer’s message is made loud and clear to producers who wish to continue doing business with them.