Friday, January 10, 2014

Tyson letter to pork suppliers

On Jan 15, 2014 Loos Tales Trent Loos shares his commentary on why all livestock producers should severe ties with Tyson Foods. This is not just a pork supplier issue because the animal rights community is celebrating this Tyson announcement. It is emotionally charged and not based on reality let alone science.

Click here to listen

From Tyson Foods 

January 8, 2014

Dear Valued Pork Supplier,

We're proud to work with pork producers like you. Your commitment to continuous improvement has never been more important – it is a critical element of our successful food system supply chain strategy. Tyson's commitment to responsible food production leads us to share the following with you:

As you know, we're in the second year of our FarmCheck™ animal well-being program, which includes on-farm audits and an Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel. As part of the evolution of our FarmCheck™ program, Tyson will increase third-party sow farm audits in 2014. The third-party audits we began in 2012 are important in our efforts to help ensure responsible on-farm treatment of animals and we believe more audits will further validate good sow farm management practices.

We urge all pork producers to use video monitoring in their sow farms to increase oversight and decrease biosecurity risks. Experience has taught us that video monitoring helps improve human behavior and animal handling in our packing plants. We believe such monitoring is a tool that can improve on-farm animal care and help avoid animal mistreatment. It also can help reduce biosecurity risks. We're asking contract farmers who manage Tyson-owned sows to install video monitoring systems by the end of 2014.

We encourage pork producers to discontinue the use of manual blunt force as the primary method of euthanizing sick and injured piglets. We recognize that this practice has been historically acceptable in the industry but may not match the expectations of today's customers or consumers. To better meet these expectations, Tyson will require contract farmers who manage our company-owned sows to end the use of blunt force euthanasia and adopt an alternative method consistent with recommendations in the most current edition of the American Veterinary Medical Association's "Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals" by the end of 2014.

We support the development and use of pain mitigation for tail docking and castration for piglets. Although this is a topic of debate within our industry, we believe current practices need to improve. Tyson will fund research to further improve practical pain mitigation methods. In the meantime, we encourage producers to adopt practices that reduce or eliminate the pain associated with these procedures, including the use of anesthetics and analgesics that are approved for use in pigs and/or are permissible under the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA).

We urge pork producers to improve housing systems for gestating sows by focusing on both the quality and quantity of space provided. Whether it involves gestation stalls, pens or some other type of housing, we believe future sow housing should allow sows of all sizes to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch their legs. We're asking the contract farmers who manage Tyson-owned sows to implement improved "quality and quantity of space" standards in the design of any newly built or redesigned gestation barns beginning in 2014. We also strongly encourage the hog farmers who sell market hogs to Tyson to improve quantity and quality of space standards for sows when they or their piglet suppliers re-design or build new gestation barns.

We recognize there are differing views on these issues and that this letter raises questions. While we don't have all the answers, we can tell you we plan to work with you as well as our Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel, industry groups – such as the National Pork Producers Council – and our customers in the coming months. We're trying to balance the expectations of consumers with the realities of today's hog farming business. The pork industry has a history of being responsive to changing market dynamics and we look forward to working with you on our current challenges.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the issues discussed in this letter, please contact the Tyson representative with whom you interact the most.


Shane Miller Dean Danilson, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Pork Division Vice President, Animal Well-Being Programs
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. Tyson Foods, Inc.

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