At Pilgrim’s, animal welfare auditing responsibilities in our production facilities are reported through the Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) Team. Nearly all Pilgrim’s production facilities have a full-time FSQA Manager or Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) who is responsible for overseeing animal welfare at the production facility including facility assessment, training programs and ongoing monitoring. The FSQA Manager and FSQA team across our U.S. and Pilgrim’s UK business units reports to the FSQA Director for their line of the business, and in our Mexico and Moy Park business units, the FSQA Manager reports to the production facility manager. The FSQA managers also receive support from the Corporate Head of Animal Welfare Auditing.
Pilgrim’s business units have a Corporate Head of Animal Welfare Auditing who reports to the Head of FSQA (also referred to in some businesses as the Heads of Technical Services and Quality Assurance) or the Vice President of Operations, who reports directly to the president of the business unit. The Corporate Head of Animal Welfare Auditing oversees the animal welfare performance of multiple facilities and provides individual facility support by sharing best management practices and offers assistance to address specific issues when needed.
Animal welfare within Pilgrim’s UK’s higher welfare supply chain is overseen by the Pig Production Director who reports to the Agriculture Director with ultimate oversight from the executive vice president of the business unit. Animal welfare of the hogs procured by Pilgrim’s UK from independent pig suppliers is overseen by the Pig Supply Chain Director who reports to the Agriculture Director.
Each production facility has team members responsible for livestock and poultry handling, processing, quality assurance, operations, procurement and human resources, who make sure that the policies and procedures required by the animal welfare program, including annual training of all team members, are being correctly implemented and followed.
Animal welfare is supported further by the Chief Animal Welfare Officer, who is also the head veterinarian, and reports to the head of live operations with ultimate oversight from the president of the business unit. In the U.S., our Chief Animal Welfare Officer is Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) certified. At Pilgrim’s Moy Park, our Chief Animal Welfare Officer is certified through an industry-recognized animal welfare training body, Animal Welfare Training Ltd. In addition, all personnel handling chickens must have a Certificate of Competency (COC), which is an assessed qualification issued by the regional regulatory authorities: Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Great Britain or the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland. Pilgrim’s UK animal welfare officers are trained to Bristol University or Livestockwise accreditation standards. Finally, the Pilgrim’s Animal Welfare Program and Guidelines are reviewed and modified by the Animal Welfare Committee which is led by the Chief Animal Welfare Officer.
The welfare of livestock and poultry in our Pilgrim’s production facilities is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations, Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en Producción de Pollo de Engorda de SADER y SENASICA and the Council Regulation N˚1099/2009, dependent on region.
We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of any kind, and all team members are required to report any violations, either anonymously through our Ethics Line or directly to management. In the unusual event that a standard operating procedure, guideline or regulation is violated, corrective action is taken immediately. If team members or family farm and ranch partners violate our Animal Welfare Policy and associated procedures, they are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, termination of a contract and/or reporting to the government authority responsible for overseeing animal welfare.