We partner with a variety of professionals, academic institutions and industry groups to advance animal agricultural research and best practices for animal welfare throughout the industry. In 2018, we increased dedicated funding for research projects in animal welfare. These projects focus on potential animal welfare improvements in animal mobility and lameness, antibiotic alternatives, traceability and best practices in production management.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve invested more than $742,000 in research initiated by universities, agricultural organizations or companies. In addition to the external research that we support, we constantly seek out and pilot the latest innovations in animal welfare best practices within our own operations.
Following are highlights from new technologies we piloted or further explored in FY2018:
Controlled Atmosphere Stunning
We continued our Fresh Meats research into an alternative stunning method, Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS), as a more humane harvesting technique. Instead of electricity, CAS uses carbon dioxide to render the animal unconscious and insensible to pain in advance of harvesting. In 2018, we established a second pilot focused on CAS stunning, expanding testing beyond our turkey plant and four of our pork plants to include two poultry plants.