Tyson Asks University to Conduct Animal Welfare Research
Springdale, Arkansas – October 5, 2006 – Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) has concluded a preliminary study into an alternate method of preparing chickens for slaughter and will be asking the University of Arkansas to conduct similar research, the company announced today.
At the request of customers and as part of the company’s commitment to animal welfare, Tyson has spent the past two years examining and testing the use of Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS). This production method involves the use of a gas mixture to render chickens unconscious before slaughter.
“While our research has concluded controlled atmosphere stunning may be an acceptable alternative, we have not currently found it to be more humane than conventional electrical stunning,” said Bill Lovette, senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods for Tyson Foods. “We’re going to continue to use the conventional method of stunning in our poultry plants because we believe it's humane and effective. However, we also believe there’s merit in the continued study of CAS and other technology. We’re going to ask the agricultural science officials at the University of Arkansas to initiate their own CAS study, using their own scientists and methods, to see if they reach the same conclusion.”
This research will be coordinated by the newly-created Chair in Food Animal Wellbeing in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas. The position will be shared by the Departments of Poultry Science and Animal Science. Tyson has committed $1.5 million to help establish the Chair, which will be involved in overseeing research and classes focused on the humane management and treatment of food animals.
“We believe the university is better positioned to conduct the research and convert the scientific results into a form that can be independently evaluated,” Lovette said. “The new Chair will also coordinate other research that will expand scientific understanding of animal behavior and physiology within a modern farming system.
“One of the most important duties of this new position will be the teaching of undergraduate and graduate students, since they represent the future of agriculture,” he said. “The Chair will also develop outreach programs that promote animal well-being to consumers while helping livestock producers meet society’s rapidly changing expectations.”
Tyson Foods has long been committed to animal well-being and has had formal programs in place for some time. In fact, Tyson was the first U.S. poultry company to establish an Office of Animal Well-Being.
In Tyson’s “Mission Statement on Animal Well-Being,” Chairman John Tyson states the company “is committed to the well-being, proper handling and humane slaughter of all the animals used in our food products. This is a long-standing commitment, and we pledge our diligence in leading the industry pursuit of new and improved technology and methods to further enhance animal well-being.”
Animal well-being is also part of Tyson’s Core Values, which call on the company’s Team Members to “serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to us.”
Tyson conducts internal animal welfare audits in its plants, which are also subject to frequent third party audits. The company also trains workers who handle live animals on proper animal welfare practices.
Tyson Foods, Inc. [NYSE: TSN], founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, the second-largest food company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products, which are marketed under the “Powered by Tyson™” strategy. Tyson is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves, providing products and service to customers throughout the United States and more than 80 countries. The company has approximately 110,000 Team Members employed at more than 300 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.
Contact: Gary Mickelson 479-290-6111