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Tyson Foods Releases First Part of Sustainability Report

2 min read

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale on Wednesday released the first part of what it called a “comprehensive sustainability report,” its first since the 2014 acquisition of Hillshire Brands.

The publicly traded meat processor said the report, which will be released in segments over the next five weeks, is part of its effort to “operate responsibly and with more transparency.” The first part provides an update on the company’s animal well-being efforts.

Upcoming segments will cover corporate giving, environmental stewardship, product development and workforce, the company said.

“Our newest report shows we’re committed to being more transparent about how we do business and our desire for continuous improvement,” said Leigh Ann Johnston, director of sustainability for Tyson Foods. “We’re providing more details — from how we’re reducing antibiotic use and auditing animal well-being on farms to our management of water and workplace safety — than ever before.”

The animal well-being segment includes information on the company’s FarmCheck program, which launched in October 2012 and involves on-farm, third party animal well-being audits.

The new report also includes details about:

  • development of an animal well-being policy “that recognizes the importance of the internationally-recognized Five Freedoms for animal well-being.”
  • use of third-party remote video auditing of live bird handling at the company’s domestic chicken plants.
  • plans to offer more training for farmers who raise broiler chickens for the company.

One group said the company’s new policy doesn’t do enough to address animal rights concerns. Mercy for Animals has accused Tyson Foods of “systemic animal abuse” in its poultry supply chain. 

“Tyson’s new policy lacks teeth and amounts to little more than PR fluff,” the group’s president, Nathan Runkle, said in a news release. “While we’re glad that Tyson is finally answering the public’s call for better animal welfare, its new commitment falls far short of consumer expectations. The policy only vaguely addresses how the company will attempt to reduce instances of animal cruelty when an entire overhaul of Tyson’s poultry supply chain is necessary.”

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