The main procedures used to reinforce the adoption and applications of Company guidelines include internal and external training for team members and suppliers, periodic internal audits, indicator panels, and constant verification of the need for investments and adjustments to processes.
Five fundamental freedoms of animals
The Company believes that product quality is directly related to animal welfare and health. This is what is behind its dedication to fostering and making sure appropriate treatment and care at every stage of the animals’ lifecycle.
All of the Company’s business units have animal welfare programs, prioritizing this topic from breeding to processing and including transport of animals. These programs involve adopting appropriate processes and practices, in addition to monitoring, training and documentation at every step in its extensive value chain.
Actions and initiatives, carried out with extreme rigor and care by each JBS operation, are in line with the five fundamental freedoms of animals, as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC).
All of the business units at JBS have multidisciplinary teams specialized in each species of animal, as well as teams who are responsible for animal welfare at the corporate level. These teams focus on constant improvement and development. They are responsible for ensuring compliance with the policies and procedures required by animal welfare programs, for creating and enhancing Company practices, and for developing the technical specifications that suppliers must adopt.
In 2019, over 19,500 people worldwide underwent training on animal welfare, which is 47% more than in 2018. Internal training involves field teams, factories and drivers. Integrated and third-party poultry and pork producers and cattle suppliers are also given technical instructions, training and support on animal welfare guidelines, procedures and policies to adopt.
Every JBS production unit has Quality Assurance professionals and corporate teams, who are responsible for overseeing the implementation of the animal welfare program, from facility and equipment assessments and training programs to ongoing monitoring of procedures. All team members involved with animal contacts receive specific training on humane animal handling and slaughter.
Those responsible for Quality Assurance at beef processing operations in the United States, Canada and Brazil are specialized in humane handling and hold certification issued by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). In Australia, certification is provided by the Australian Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS).
All operations comply with local technical standards and laws, as well as the principles of animal freedom and humane slaughter. Due to commercial issues, JBS follows religious guidelines to respect the cultural characteristics and diversity of the markets in which it operates.
JBS works to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals year after year, across the entire supply chain. Antibiotics are currently only administered in cases where they are needed, always following veterinarian recommendations. Antibiotics are not routinely used preventively in production; they are only used as needed and pending an assessment by veterinarians. Use of medications is registered and tracked throughout the integrated and Company chains.
JBS’s animal welfare programs are assessed using key performance indicators (KPIs), which are audited by both internal teams and independent consulting firms, as well as by customers in the domestic and foreign markets. Most are focused on practices beyond those required by current laws, indicating JBS’s commitment to adopting best practices. There are also certification audits, such as Global GAP and Certified Humane, applied to Seara units, the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS), for Australian operations, and PAACO, at JBS USA and Friboi operations.
Any team member or supplier violations of the JBS Animal Welfare Program result in disciplinary processes that could lead to termination of employment or contracts to supply raw materials.
Global animal welfare ranking
Caring for food quality and safety is an ongoing process that JBS applies at every stage of its production chain and it starts with caring for animals. The results of these initiatives can be found in the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), an annual global report of best practices in animal welfare that is developed by two international NGOs, World Animal Protection and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), and by Coller Capital, a global private equity firm. In 2018, JBS remained one of the best companies in the world in relation to Animal Welfare practices, placing in tier 3.
The Company oversees every stage in the animal control and welfare process, from breeding to transportation to production.
Breeding is a fundamental to animal welfare. Each protein chain is served according to best local practices, in line with their particularities.
Breeding of poultry, hogs and cows involves Company or third-party operations. Animal health and safety are top priorities and are common to every product line, which is why they are guaranteed through technical visits, manuals, procedures and policies, audits and training.
Practices such as cloning and genetic engineering are not used in the JBS supply chain. The Company also does not use any type of growth hormone, in accordance with Brazilian laws.
At JBS, animals are transported by specialized and trained drivers using Company or third-party vehicles, designed to promote animal welfare. This procedure prevents injuries and minimizes animal stress during transportation, from departure to arrival. Maximum transport distances and times are pre-established, with procedures for resting, feeding and supplying water adopted according to the timeframes set. Drivers are trained on safety procedures in the event of emergencies while transporting animals.
The Company is constantly investing in improving facilities, in acquiring the best equipment available and in training specialized teams, who are at plants to oversee receipt of animals and guarantee their welfare up to the moment of processing. Performance in every stage is regularly evaluated and audited, internally and externally, using specific metrics.