Tulip Higher Welfare Hogs
At JBS USA, all antibiotics are used under the supervision of licensed and accredited doctors of veterinary medicine and only for the purposes of preventing, controlling or treating disease, rather than growth promotion or feed efficiency. The Company’s antibiotic policies also requires written veterinary permission before the use of any antibiotics, enhanced record-keeping and tracking of all antibiotic use and training programs for JBS USA team members to guarantee compliance with our comprehensive health and disease-prevention programs, including animal husbandry, hygiene, monitoring and vaccination.
Pilgrim’s does not administer antibiotics for routine medical treatment and is focused on producing healthy chickens through good hygiene and husbandry practices. Any use of antibiotics is strictly governed by national regulations and requires authorization by the overseeing doctor of veterinary medicine or veterinary surgeon who care for the poultry. Any medication used is licensed by the FDA or U.K. Veterinary Medicines Directorate and undergoes intense scrutiny before being approved for use.
In the U.S., Pilgrims’ has been antibiotic free in all Company hatcheries since 2016 and is fully compliant with the FDA Guidance 209 and 213 VFD rule. Any antibiotic use is under the strict guidance of the Company’s licensed, USDA accredited and board certified veterinarians and is strictly for disease prevention, control or treatment. The Pilgrim’s antibiotic policy is reviewed annually.
In Europe, records of medications used on farms are inspected by the auditors of the Red Tractor Scheme and by the local authority Animal Health inspectors as legally required. In addition, Pilgrim’s Moy Park has an Antimicrobial Stewardship Forum focused on the education of poultry producers in antimicrobial resistance and best practices to reduce antimicrobial usage and collects comprehensive data to give the poultry industry and regulators a clear picture of poultry-usage trends. Pilgrim’s Moy Park established a Food Safety Forum and Antibiotics Stewardship Forum, to ensure that our chickens are healthy and our products are safe. These forums include external experts who assist us with the latest scientific developments.
Pilgrim’s Tulip has introduced an industry leading initiative in our own higher welfare farming supply chains to reduce the need for antibiotic use by improving hog management and health. We have voluntarily implemented stringent controls on the use of Critically Important Antibiotics (CIA’s). Since implementing our antibiotic stewardship strategy in 2013, we have reduced use by more than 70 percent. Antibiotic usage within our own higher welfare supply chain has been consistently below the U.K. swine sector target for 2020. Tulip’s independent supply partners, as part of the U.K. swine industry, have achieved the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) target for the responsible use of antibiotics since its start in 2017.
As part of our long-standing commitment to safeguard the welfare of our livestock and poultry, we treat all sick animals with antibiotics if necessary and then remove them from our antibiotic-free/NAE, natural and organic programs. We do not allow sick animals to suffer.
The commitment by JBS USA to reducing antibiotic use in raising animals is limited by the fact that it is still not possible to fully replace these medications to treat and prevent diseases. JBS USA veterinary and nutrition teams continue to work closely with companies that produce alternative compounds, as well as with universities and private researchers, ensuring that the Company is on the leading edge of innovation in this area.
Veterinarians work to mitigate or eliminate pain for the animals. In the U.S. the procedures performed on our hogs prevent injuries later in life and improve meat quality and include tail docking and castration and are consistent with our animal welfare program. At JBS Australia feedlots, we work diligently to purchase cattle that have been pre-conditioned, which means that cattle have been previously castrated and disbudded (if necessary) at a young age, vaccinated and weaned before arriving at our feedlots.
At Tulip, routine tail docking is not performed and is only permitted with veterinary approval and castration is not permitted. Tulip continues to lead the industry in research to advance animal welfare, for example, our current research includes a project examining hog behavior and its impact upon tail biting. The objective is to understand more about causal factors associated with tail biting and how tail docking can be reduced.
JBS USA Carriers Livestock Trailer
As a component of the animal welfare programs at each production facility, livestock transporters are audited daily to verify adherence to JBS USA humane handling standards, and, depending on the country, the NAMI Transportation Guidelines, CFIA Humane Transport Guidelines, Australian Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestock and RSPCA, Red Tractor or QMS.
U.S. beef and pork production facilities also require all transporters to present documentation that demonstrates their understanding of and adherence to the JBS USA guidelines and in the U.S. certification with Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT) the Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) and the National Pork Board’s Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) programs. Improper handling of livestock results in immediate corrective actions and can result in the transporter being permanently banned from delivering livestock to JBS USA facilities in the future.
In Europe, our pork and approved lamb production facilities require that livestock are moved in their social groups, and hog trailers are equipped with lifting decks to make loading as stress free as possible. Trailers are bedded with straw and in the summer months extra drinking water is provided. We monitor transport time, current average journey times are four hours and our position is that no animal should be in transit to a Tulip production facility for longer than eight hours.
JBS USA Carriers business is responsible for providing safe transportation to more than 1.5 million cattle each year. Delivering cattle in a manner that promotes humane handling during loading at the feedyard, a safe journey for both drivers and animals and minimal stress on cattle during unloading at our facilities is our priority. JBS USA Carriers takes pride in the safe and efficient transport of animals to production facilities across the country, and our drivers bring a passion for the industry to work with them every day.
JBS USA Carriers, in conjunction with Five Rivers Cattle Feeding (JBS USA’s largest producer partner) and both of their animal welfare teams, provides drivers with animal-handling and safety training. The training materials are based on the BQAT program, which is widely recognized as the industry standard for truck driver training.
During transport at Pilgrim’s, we work to protect our chickens from temperature extremes and provide them with adequate ventilation. During cold weather, we add side and front panels to the transport cages to keep chickens warm. During the summer months, we reduce the number of chickens per cage, keep them shaded and provide fans and misters to keep them cool and minimize heat stress. We strive to minimize the amount of time chickens spend in cages, consistent with regionally appropriate animal welfare practices. We also monitor handling and transport animal welfare metrics of our chickens.