Supply Partner Expectations and Responsible Transportation
We have a long-standing commitment to the well-being and proper handling of the chicken, cattle, hogs, and turkeys we process for our food products.
This commitment is detailed on our corporate website, within our annual Sustainability Reports, in terms and conditions of livestock purchases, and through our endorsement of programs and practices aimed at promoting animal well-being, such as our requirement that hog suppliers maintain PQA Plus Certification®. If we find a situation in which we believe animal well-being has been compromised, we will take immediate corrective action.
In addition to numerous well-being benefits, careful and quiet animal handling during loading, transport, and unloading can produce meat quality benefits as well. For these reasons, we’ve implemented the following guidelines to ensure safe and responsible transportation of the chicken, cattle, hogs, and turkeys we process for our food products.
- We seek to minimize stocking densities, travel times, ensure proper ventilation, and protect the animals from harsh weather conditions.
- We strive to avoid the transport of live animals for more than 8 hours to harvest. The vast majority of the chickens, cattle, hogs, and turkeys we harvest are in transport less than four hours. Due to the geographic profile of independent supply chain, along with the need to operate our processing plants in an efficient manner, we could encounter longer transport times. If transportation of the animals exceeds 24 consecutive hours they are unloaded and provided feed, water, and rest.
- We maintain emergency management plans for motor-vehicle accidents involving animals in transport.
- Our processing plants maintain standard procedures for receiving live animals that require unloading animals as soon as possible, providing water at all times, and feeding the animals if they are kept for longer than 24 hours.
- We use the North American Meat Institute Transportation Audit Guidelines for Cattle and Hogs at all our beef and pork processing plants.
- In addition to our support of the National Pork Board’s We Care℠ Initiative, we provide manuals that recommend good management and well-being practices to the drivers who transport live animals to our plants. We also provide drivers who transport cattle to our beef plants the Master Cattle Transporter Guide by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.