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.