Optimize Resources to Meet Strategic Objectives

The Tyson Foods’ Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) is comprised of passionate team members who work diligently to guide and support our business units and supply partners in fortifying our responsibility for animal care and handling while driving continuous improvement throughout our supply chain. 

The OAW, in collaboration with senior leadership from across the company, is responsible for gaining alignment on animal welfare practices across the company and driving global consensus on new or innovative animal welfare initiatives. We utilize our external Animal Welfare Advisory Panel, an internal Global Animal Welfare Council and a team of animal welfare specialists who are embedded across our business units to deliver on our mission and vision. 

Our Office of Animal Welfare oversees the implementation of the FarmCheck® program, which includes engaging with the Animal Welfare Advisory Panel, delivering on research objectives and executing the on-farm verification program. The program uses third-party auditors to check the supplier livestock and poultry farms to ensure they meet a variety of animal welfare criteria, including animal condition, environment, caretaker training and proper human-animal interaction.

FarmCheck on Farm Verification

This is the logo for FarmCheck.

In partnership with our livestock and poultry suppliers across the nation, we emphasize responsible animal care and a focus on continuous improvement. We trust that our supply partners share our commitment and approach to proper animal care and handling, as they have a vested interest in the success of their operations and the industry. Verifying this commitment began with the FarmCheck® on-farm verification program to assure our customers and consumers the animals supplied to us are being properly treated. 

As part of our supply chain partnerships, all poultry, cattle and hog suppliers that support our U.S. harvest facilities are subject to third-party audits through the FarmCheck® program. The program scope is based on a statistically valid sampling of each protein supply chain so that, over a three-year period, we can be 99% confident that 95% or more of our supply chain complies with expected standards. 

Relying upon science-based best practices and animal welfare outcomes appropriate for each species, on-farm standards are based upon recognized industry programs, including the: 

  1. National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Beef Quality Assurance program 
  2. National Chicken Council's Broiler & Breeder Welfare Guidelines 
  3. National Turkey Federation's Standards of Conduct and Animal Care Guidelines [Animal Welfare, An Industry Priority - National Turkey Federation] 
  4. National Pork Board's Pork Quality Assurance Plus program 

Utilizing PAACO-trained and certified third-party auditors, on-farm evaluations encompass animal benchmarking outcomes, caretaker training, standard operating procedures and records, animal & facility observations, and animal care & handling practices. Since 2021, the audit criteria and tools implemented across supply chains have been recognized by PAACO to increase the integrity of our verification program. The audit tools used include: 

  • Tyson FarmCheck® Broiler, Breeder, and Turkey Audits 
  • US Cattle Industry Audit Tool for feedyards 
  • Tyson FarmCheck®️ Livestock Market Tool for livestock market suppliers* 
  • Common Swine Industry Audit Tool for sow, nursery and finish sites within our pork supply chain 
  • Certified Care Commitment Tool for dealer operations within our pork supply chain* 

*These 2 audits are not PAACO certified.

In collaboration with our broad network of Tyson livestock buyers and poultry live operations teams, producers are engaged to facilitate follow-up on each audit - verifying that all applicable out-of-scope observations are being fully addressed through producer corrective action plans. 

Each year, we complete a comprehensive analysis to understand the top areas of opportunity within each supply chain. Through this analysis, we have identified top opportunities for improvement and communicated these across the supply chains. While each supplier may use the results of their audit to identify ways to enhance their on-farm processes and efforts, understanding where our challenges lie as an industry allows us to focus our efforts and communication to help raise the bar. 

Through this effort, we can encourage and support continuous improvement throughout our supply chains and verify that our suppliers provide their animals with appropriate care, regardless of the operation type or system. 


Monitoring in International Operations

Animal welfare is a complex issue subject to different laws and formed by varying cultural and societal traditions, norms and viewpoints. Tyson Foods continues to expect that all of our operations and suppliers adopt policies and animal welfare standards consistent with those of our U.S. operations. We are, therefore, working toward continuous improvement internationally and educating our suppliers on best practices in animal welfare. We continually evaluate welfare programs and potential opportunities for improvement in order to provide more cohesive governance and oversight across our entire global supply chain.

Animal Welfare Specialists
Animal Welfare Specialists

Each of our facilities that harvests animals in the U.S., including chicken, turkey, beef and pork plants, is directly supported by a professionally trained and Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) certified animal welfare specialist. These specialists conduct internal audits of our facilities and provide service, assistance and expertise to our team members about animal welfare. Specialists are embedded in the day-to-day operations at each facility, partnering with operations teams to identify opportunities for improvement, share best practices and return value to the business. They also serve as advocates for the animals and work to enhance our animal welfare culture and awareness throughout our facilities. 

This team was the first in the industry to be certified as internal auditors by PAACO. The continuous education required of our specialists annually to keep their certification makes them local subject matter experts and critical resources on animal welfare across our entire company. Due to this extensive knowledge, specialists also support and lead team member training on animal handling and welfare. 

Our animal welfare specialists gather each year at a welfare summit to collaborate with their peers on various animal welfare opportunities they have identified at the facilities they support. Since 2018, attendees have presented animal welfare improvement projects and shared best practices during working sessions. In addition to peer collaboration, outside experts host learning sessions and answer Q&A. 

Our animal welfare specialists also provide verification of animal welfare training to every team member that comes in contact with live animals. This consists of training prior to entry into animal handling areas, tests to ensure understanding of proper techniques and confirmation of agreement to comply with animal welfare requirements. Those in positions requiring live animal handling — including catch crews, livestock haulers and team members in breeding, grow-out houses and harvest facilities — complete more extensive animal welfare training before interacting with live animals. This expectation also extends to any team member, visitor or supplier with intermittent or limited access to live animal handling areas. In addition, the animal welfare specialists receive continuous education and pass those learnings on to the team members responsible for handling animals as well as the facility animal welfare committee. 

All team members who work with live animals are required to be trained in best practices for animal handling. Anything they believe is inconsistent with our welfare program expectations should be reported to their supervisor or our anonymous ethics and compliance hotline. This expectation is reinforced by our 100/0 and See it? Stop it! programs (see below). 

Our vertically integrated poultry operations allow our welfare specialists to also support the FarmCheck® program through supplemental internal auditing of essential parts of the animal handling process on our contract poultry farms in the U.S. They monitor animal welfare on farm, assisting farmers in complying with animal welfare policies and regulations.


This is a photo of the Animal Welfare Summit.

Throughout all Tyson beef, pork and poultry harvest facilities in the U.S., our CARE program — a robust and systematic animal welfare program — is in place to verify that established best practices are used for animal handling and harvest, and to continuously evaluate the processes employed in each facility to identify opportunities for improvement. 

CARE has three main components: 

  1. We begin by documenting each step in the animal handling process, from live animal receiving through harvest. 
  2. We then evaluate each step to identify potential incidents that could result in excessive excitement, discomfort or accidental injury to the animal. 
  3. And, if an opportunity for a potential risk or incident exists, we implement changes to mitigate or minimize those risks.  

Safe and proper handling includes optimizing stocking densities and travel times, ensuring proper ventilation and protecting the animals from harsh weather conditions during loading, transport and unloading of animals. Our team members and transportation providers are required to follow a rigorous set of guidelines that govern our transportation activities aimed at protecting animals. This training includes basic animal behavior and low-stress handling techniques to facilitate calm, efficient and animal-paced movement, thus decreasing stress and avoiding injuries. All transporters delivering cattle to our beef harvest facilities are required to be certified under the Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT) program. All drivers who transport hogs must be certified in the Transport Quality Assurance Program developed by the National Pork Board. Verification of each transporter’s training is conducted at live animal receiving at the harvest facilities.

In addition, our chicken and turkey specialists working in our U.S. operations are certified to teach the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association’s Poultry Handling and Transportation (PHT) Certification Program. This program ensures compliance with applicable laws and meets or exceeds North American Meat Institute (NAMI), National Chicken Council (NCC) and National Turkey Federation (NTF) guidelines. 

Best-practice system assessments and animal-handling audits are implemented in all of our U.S. chicken, beef, pork and turkey plants, and chicken hatcheries. This approach includes a combination of daily, weekly and annual handling and welfare audits conducted by animal welfare specialists, OAW personnel, plant management, members of our Food Safety and Quality Assurance teams and third-party groups. Plants perform daily internal audits and take part in annual external third-party audits. In addition, all plants have animal welfare committees that conduct assessments and meet monthly to discuss animal welfare performance and areas for improvement. 

As part of the CARE program, each of our facilities has an animal welfare committee that conducts assessments and meets at least monthly to discuss animal welfare performance and opportunities for improvement. They work closely with representatives in our Office of Animal Welfare and FSQA groups to identify opportunities and share best practices across the enterprise. 

Good animal welfare requires consideration of not only the animals but also the environment that they are in. Because of this, we continue to invest time and resources in our facilities through improvements in lairage structures, flooring, stunning equipment and dedicated research farms. Through a robust animal welfare auditing strategy, we ensure that high standards for animal health and welfare and industry best practices are implemented, enforced and verified across our operations and supply chain.

Video Monitoring
Video Monitoring

All Tyson Foods harvest facilities implement video monitoring to audit the areas involved in live animal handling. A designated monitor conducts standardized audits at a frequency established to meet program requirements. 

Animal Welfare Advisory Panel
This is a group picture of the Animal Welfare Advisory panel.
Our Animal Welfare Advisory Panel develops and implements innovative animal welfare initiatives and practices. Read bios of panel members here.

We formed our external Animal Welfare Advisory Panel in 2012 as part of the FarmCheck® program. The panel’s direction helps to ensure we’re taking a leadership position on the most relevant and critical areas of animal welfare. 

The Panel’s intent is to maintain a balanced dialogue that includes experts from various fields, including academia, regulatory, production and science, to bring diverse perspectives on animal behavior, health, welfare, production and ethics. 

This external panel guides current animal welfare topics and helps to: 

  1. Determine ways to improve our FarmCheck® program 
  2. Advise us on research priorities and projects 
  3. Alerts us to emerging issues or technologies that may affect our industry and business 
  4. Helps us understand proactive approaches we can take to address areas such as ethical issues, consumer interests, and new research and technologies 

The Panel continues to help us identify potential gaps and opportunities for improvement in animal welfare, such as focusing our research on poultry lighting, environmental enrichments, facility design and animal housing. 

Global Animal Welfare Council

In late 2020, Tyson Foods launched a global initiative to bring together the best animal welfare minds within our newly expanded global company. The result was Tyson Foods’ Global Animal Welfare Council, which meets quarterly to discuss timely and emerging issues, the future direction of the company’s animal welfare program, and to ensure alignment on animal welfare policies and practices throughout our global operations.

Global Animal Welfare Policies

Just as we have created the Global Animal Welfare Council to standardize animal welfare across our global operations, Tyson Foods maintains global animal welfare policies to ensure consistency in key areas of program governance.