This February, the U.K.-based Business Benchmark of Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) announced its annual ranking—rating 150 major food producers and sellers from 23 nations on the basis of corporate reporting related to animal welfare management, policies, practices, processes, and performance. This year, Cargill ranked within the top 17 companies—a testament to the company’s commitment to increased transparency and continuous improvement to its animal welfare practices.
“Every day Cargill works hard to care for animals and prioritize their welfare, maintaining high standards for our suppliers and ourselves,” said Corporate Senior Vice President Brian Sikes, in an announcement. “Our team of experts are stewards, focused on the proper care and handling of animals so that we can meet the world’s growing demand for nutritious, affordable, and high-quality protein.”
For the third year in a row, the BBFAW ranked Cargill’s commitment as Tier 2, evincing a commitment to animal welfare that is “integral to [the company’s] business strategy.” The ranking placed Cargill in a class of only 12 companies, selected from among the top 50 global retailers, 40 global poultry producers, and 30 restaurant and bar operators.
“For more than 150 years, we have been guided by the philosophy that doing the right thing is beneficial to all, and helps our customers and communities thrive as we feed the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. This philosophy is core to Cargill’s values,” said Dr. Stephanie Cottee, Cargill’s Global Head of Poultry Welfare. “As we deliver protein to the tables of the world, we understand and embrace our responsibility to ensure animals are treated with respect and dignity, because it’s simply the right thing to do. Cargill takes pride in being an industry leader in animal welfare and we maintain high standards for our suppliers and ourselves. We employ a zero-tolerance policy on animal abuse and work with third-party auditors and experts to ensure that we continue to employ best practices.”
According to Lacey Alexander, Cargill’s North American Beef Welfare Lead, Cargill is committed to continued innovation within the realm of animal welfare, having pioneered many of the practices that are becoming instrumental to animal welfare practices in general.
“We continually explore opportunities to advance our animal welfare practices and challenge ourselves to do more,” Lacey noted. “For example, Cargill pioneered remote video auditing in our facilities, which helps us monitor animal welfare and employee safety on an ongoing, daily basis. An audit firm provides immediate notification to Cargill if there are any deviations from our animal welfare policies to ensure they are quickly corrected. This also provides us with an independent evaluation of our practices, which helps inform our continuous improvement efforts. Cargill also developed the industry’s first robotic cattle driver to help move cattle from pens to the processing area, minimizing their proximity to human activity, and also reducing safety risks for employees who work in the cattle yard area of the processing plants.”
Lacey added, “We’re looking at opportunities to partner with customers, industry organizations, and others to use technology and other tools to continue to deliver on our animal welfare commitments.”
For more on fresh food providers large and small, keep reading Deli Market News.