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Tyson Foods said Friday that it "is launching a program to personally audit the treatment of animals at the livestock and poultry farms that supply the company. The effort is in line with the company's core value to serve as a steward of the animals entrusted to it ... The audits - called the Tyson FarmCheck(TM) Program - have already begun on a trial basis on some of the 3,000 independent hog farms that supply the company. Auditors are visiting the farms to check on such things as animal access to food and water, as well as proper human-animal interaction and worker training.

"The FarmCheck program has been under development since early spring 2012. Although Tyson personnel have been conducting the audits so far, the company plans to ultimately involve independent, third party auditors. It also intends to expand the program to include chicken and cattle farms by January 2014. The audits are being developed by experienced veterinarians and animal welfare experts and are expected to include measures that build upon current voluntary farm industry programs."

"Our company is made up of ethical, responsible and compassionate people, and we believe the family farmers who supply us share our values," said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "We know more consumers want assurance their food is being produced responsibly, and we think two important ways to do that are by conducting on-farm audits while also continuing to research ways to improve how farm animals are raised. Here's what I want people to know: at Tyson, we care enough to check on the farm; and we're determined to help find better ways to care for and raise healthy animals."
KC's View:
Human treatment of animals has become an enormous top-of-mind issue in a lot of places and for a lot of people ...and companies have to respond.