2018 Sustainability Report

Animal Welfare Monitoring

Through a robust animal welfare auditing strategy, we’re committed to ensuring that our expectations on responsible and humane care and handling of livestock and poultry are met throughout our operations and supply chains.

Audits at Our Plants

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

The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) assign a Public Health Veterinarian (PHV) to every FSIS-inspected harvest facility for livestock and poultry.

Summaries of our recent third-party animal welfare audits are publicly available on our chicken and turkey, beef, and pork operations.

christopher jones

Two Proud Titles: Animal Lover & Welfare Specialist

A love of working with animals is a prerequisite for being an animal welfare specialist at Tyson. For Christopher Jones, that love goes back to his first job at an exotic pet store. More than a decade later and several moves through Tyson’s cattle yard operations, he now gets to demonstrate his love of animals on a daily basis as the first animal welfare specialist at our Dakota City, Nebraska, plant.

“I’m responsible for making sure our animals are treated humanely and our team members stay safe. I have a strong drive for continuous improvement,” explains Christopher. “I’m always looking for ways to make things safer, more efficient and more ergonomic for our team members and our animals.”

Christopher puts that desire for continuous improvement to work on a daily basis to make a difference in his role. He recently helped with a project to install privacy fencing around cattle yards so that cattle would not be startled by visual distractions.

“The areas where cattle were stopping and turning around were the same areas team members were getting injured,” he notes. “This project is a win-win for safety and animal welfare. The cattle are calmer and our team members are safer.”

He’s also proud of the installation of new heavy-duty, maintenance-free bumpers that are successfully preventing animals from slipping and falling when coming off trucks. “I’m proud of these projects, but they were a collaborative effort. None would have been possible without our Operations, Food Safety, Safety, Ergonomics and Maintenance teams.”

Remote Video Monitoring

We believe that documenting how our animals are handled has the potential to lead to innovations in animal welfare that we’ve not previously considered. In 2018, we continued to implement the industry’s largest third-party remote video auditing (RVA) system in the U.S., created to enhance our monitoring capabilities of bird handling in our poultry plants. Arrowsight auditing technology and data analytics service deploys trained off-site auditors who conduct random audits, analyze video feed and provide results of their audits to our plant managers.

As of the end of 2018, our RVA program spanned all poultry plants. While we did not expand the RVA program to additional plants in 2018, we continued to identify more efficient and meaningful ways to use this important tool. Through an in-depth analysis of the reporting structure and data-sharing mechanisms, we’re developing a more streamlined process that will increase our ability to identify trends and address areas for improvement.

In 2018, we rolled out an innovative RVA pilot project to assess on-farm catching of birds for transport to processing facilities, to enable us to audit the performance of catch crews. We will complete assessments of the first complexes in 2019. The RVA with catch crews has garnered positive results and allows us to work with our catch crews and coach them on handling birds properly during the catch process.

Within our beef and pork processing plants, we believe the benefits of video monitoring are invaluable to our commitment to animal welfare. In FY2018, we finalized a pilot project utilizing third-party remote auditing at one of our beef plants. While we continue to explore remote video monitoring systems to discover how these can work within our facilities and programs, our internal video equipment serves to monitor animal handling and harvesting activities as part of our systematic animal welfare management plan.

The implementation of internal command centers within each pork facility, allow us to support 24/7 monitoring and take action to address any deviation from our CARE program procedures and expectations while using our full-time camera monitors. With some plants having over a year of run-time, we continue to fine-tune our processes – including dashboard analysis and trending, and development of camera monitoring training specs – that facilitate improvement in management practices related to animal welfare.

FarmCheck® – Industry-Leading Third-Party Audit Program

Our industry-leading third-party audit program helps to ensure that livestock and poultry farmers are monitored for proper animal welfare practices. Our Corporate Office of Animal Welfare oversees the implementation of the FarmCheck® program, through which third-party auditors check the livestock and poultry farms that supply us to ensure they meet a variety of animal welfare criteria.

In 2018, the FarmCheck® program continued to grow in scope, criteria and impact, with several new facets emerging over the past year, including additional audit criteria. And, while not an official part of our on-farm audit, we plan to roll out efforts to both raise awareness and increase our understanding of industry practices related to sustainable pork production on the farm in 2019. In addition, we are currently in the process of adding an environmental addendum to our poultry audit. Further efforts are underway to score our poultry and beef audits, gain PAACO accreditation for our broiler audit and increase audit capabilities through Enablon technology that allows for more efficient auditing and reporting.


As a result of the 2018 FarmCheck® program audits, we identified three areas for improvement across all Tyson Foods supply chains. These areas are records and documentation, (such as training, maintenance logs and written standard operating procedures); internal checks, audits and assessments; and facility repair (such as gaps in walls or floors or damaged slats).



Acts of Abuse:
0 across all species

  • Swine
  • Cattle
  • Chicken & Turkey
  • *Percentages represent the average number of audit elements that were found to be acceptable against their representative frameworks.
  • **The areas of greatest improvement were training and site assessment/site self-check. Both of these elements of the FarmCheck® program are largely focused on record-keeping requirements. The increased communication by our cattle procurement team helped clarify these requirements for feedyards and livestock markets.


538 Total Audits Completed

2014: 92 2015: 126 2016: 145 2017: 124 2018: 122
2014: 141 2015: 191 2016: 196 2017: 187 2018: 179
2014: 250 2015: 222 2016: 232 2017: 228 2018: 237