Animal Care | JBS USA | Sustainability Report

2021 Key Facts and Figures


of internal and external animal welfare audits passed globally


scores achieved on external animal welfare audits


of team members who have contact with animals have been trained according to our animal welfare programs

Aligning to the SDGs

Ensuring the well-being of the livestock and poultry under our care is an uncompromising commitment at JBS USA. We continually strive to improve our welfare efforts through new technologies and the implementation of standards that meet and often exceed regulatory requirements and industry guidelines.

We have established and implemented animal welfare policies and programs in all our business units to further promote the humane treatment of animals. Our animal welfare programs lay out the appropriate practices, controls, training and documentation, and are motivated by the Five Freedoms:

  1. Freedom to express natural behavior
  2. Freedom from injury and disease
  3. Freedom from discomfort
  4. Freedom from thirst and hunger
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

To continually improve the care and well-being of our animals, we have developed an aggressive, globally aligned JBS Animal Health and Welfare Scorecard. The scorecard was developed by our JBS animal welfare team and uses a combination of indicators selected for their importance to the health and welfare of our animals. We will set 2030 goals to achieve against this scorecard across our global operations.


Animal Welfare

Launched a Global Animal Welfare Scorecard across all operations

Our Management Approach

At JBS USA, animal welfare responsibilities in our production facilities are reported through the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Team. Each business unit also has a Corporate Animal Welfare Manager who reports to the Head of Food Safety and Quality Assurance (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 Animal Welfare Manager oversees the animal welfare performance of multiple facilities and provides individual facility support by sharing best management practices and helping address specific issues, should they arise.

Every JBS USA production facility has a full-time Quality Assurance Manager, Animal Welfare Manager or Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of our animal welfare program, which includes facility assessment, training programs and ongoing monitoring. In most facilities, the Quality Assurance Manager reports to the Head of FSQA and receives support from the Corporate Animal Welfare Manager. In our pork facilities in the U.S., the Quality Assurance Manager reports to the Facility Manager and receives support from the Corporate Animal Welfare Manager.

For our beef and pork production facilities in the U.S. and Canada, the Animal Welfare Manager is a Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO)-trained humane handling specialist. In Australia, they are trained according to industry AWO skills and are Australia Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) approved auditors. In Europe at our Moy Park facilities, our AWOs at our poultry facilities are certified through 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. At our Pilgrim’s UK pork facilities our AWOs are accredited according to Bristol University or Livestockwise.

Each production facility has team members from livestock and poultry handling, processing, quality assurance, operations, procurement and human resources. These team members ensure that the policies and procedures required by the animal welfare program, including annual training of all team members, are being correctly implemented and followed.

Additionally, the welfare of livestock and poultry in our production facilities is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Meat Inspection, Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en Producción de Pollo de Engorda de SADER y SENASICA, Council Regulation N˚1099/2009, Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines and Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption, dependent on region and protein.

At our beef and pork facilities, a veterinarian has authority over animal handling and inspects animals that are delivered to the processing facilities. In the unusual event that a standard operating procedure, guideline or regulation is violated, corrective action is taken immediately.

For our U.S. based live pork business, the Director of Animal Welfare provides animal welfare program oversight and program implementation support to all company-owned and contract farms. The Director of Animal Welfare reports to the president of the business unit. In addition, five licensed and accredited veterinarians and two swine nutritionists maintain the health and well-being of our pigs.

For JBS Australia, every feedlot’s animal health and welfare program is the direct responsibility of the Feedlot Manager, who is trained to be a competent AWO. The Feedlot Manager receives support from independent nutritionists and veterinarians.

At Pilgrim’s, the Chief Animal Welfare Officer, who is also the Head Veterinarian, is responsible for the welfare of our chickens. The Head of Live Operations supervises the Chief Animal Welfare Officer, with ultimate oversight from the president of the business unit. Animal welfare within Pilgrim’s UK’s higher welfare supply chain is overseen by the Pig Production Director who reports to the Agriculture Director. The Executive Vice President of the business unit supervises the Agriculture Director. The animal welfare of the hogs procured by Pilgrim’s UK from independent farmers is overseen by the Pig Supply Chain Director who also reports to the Agriculture Director.

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. Team members or family farm and ranch partners who violate our Animal Welfare Policy and associated procedures are subject to disciplinary action including termination of employment, termination of contract and/or reporting to the government authority responsible for overseeing animal welfare.

In addition, our animal welfare programs are often reviewed by animal handling and welfare experts from universities across the globe. These lasting academic partnerships have assisted JBS USA in identifying and investing in additional upgrades to both our facilities and team member training programs to further enhance the welfare of our animals.


All new JBS USA team members in relevant roles receive department-specific animal welfare training during orientation, and all team members who handle livestock or poultry must attend annual refresher trainings. Our Quality Assurance and Human Resources Managers make sure that all training requirements are completed as scheduled, documented and available for review.


All of our production facilities are audited regularly to guarantee compliance with our animal welfare programs. Quality assurance personnel conduct daily audits to verify adherence to each country’s respective compliance program, depending on the protein. These programs include USDA, NAMI (North American Meat Institute) Animal Handling Guidelines, National Chicken Council (NCC) Guidelines, CFIA Meat Inspection Regulations, Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en Producción de Pollo de Engorda de SADER y SENASICA, Council Regulation N˚1099/2009 standards on animal welfare and the AUSMEAT-audited Industry Animal Welfare Standard for Livestock Processing Establishments. Government inspectors also monitor animal welfare practices daily to guarantee compliance with regulations.

Every production facility also undergoes annual third-party animal handling audits. If a deficiency is identified, immediate corrective action is taken, and internal follow-up audits are scheduled until the issue is resolved. We share corrective action strategies across the company so that all facilities can benefit from new knowledge and perspectives to drive continuous improvement in our approach to animal welfare.

In addition, we have implemented a video auditing system in all of our beef, lamb and pork production facilities and are piloting a system in select poultry facilities. This allows us to conduct real-time internal auditing from a viewing room and provide team members with immediate feedback for improvement. Our video footage is audited remotely by our animal welfare team and/or an independent third party. These independent reviews are designed to verify our ongoing commitment to best practices in animal handling and include alerts and daily summaries to facilities for process improvement.

Livestock transporters are audited daily to verify adherence to JBS USA humane handling standards, NAMI Transportation Guidelines, CFIA Health of Animal Regulations Livestock Transport Requirements and the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestock, depending on the region.

We also prioritize animal welfare standards within our supply chain.

In the U.S., we require all our partners who raise the cattle and hogs that we purchase to be Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) or Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) certified and verify compliance by conducting third-party audits according to the BQA Feedyard Assessment and the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA). Our sow and finishing farms are regularly assessed by field managers, veterinarians and the Director of Animal Welfare.

When necessary, corrective actions are outlined with caretakers and additional training is administered as needed. The Director of Animal Welfare and Animal Welfare Manager conduct second-party site assessments as part of the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) program to verify that caretakers are providing care in accordance to industry standards. In addition to internal audits, JBS USA Live Pork participates in third-party animal welfare audits using the PAACO certified CSIA tool.

In Australia, our feedlots are subject to annual third-party audits as part of the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS), which includes mandatory biannual internal animal welfare audits according to Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle. All hogs are sourced from Australia Pork Industry Quality Assurance Program (APIQ) accredited farms with industry best-practice animal welfare standards.

At Pilgrim’s, farms are visited and assessed weekly according to our Animal Welfare Program. In the U.S., a subset of farms are audited by PAACO-certified auditor according to NCC guidelines. A majority of our Mexico complexes are compliant with the Federally Inspected Type (TIF), a voluntary food-quality certification of the Mexican government.  In Europe, all Pilgrim’s Moy Park poultry farms are Red Tractor approved and meet or exceed Red Tractor or equivalent welfare standards. Annually, an external auditor audits each farm to Red Tractor standards, which results in Assured Chicken Production (ACP) certification. Pilgrim’s UK’s own higher welfare supply chain raises hogs at a minimum to the Red Tractor (pig) standard, but they are also afforded an additional level of welfare via the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) standard as well as our own British Quality Pigs (BQP) welfare standard. To that end, 100% of Pilgrim’s UK’s integrated suppliers are RSPCA approved by independent external auditors. Our European abattoirs are audited according to the Council Regulation N˚1099/2009 standards on animal welfare. Animal welfare audit results and key performance indicators are integrated into the Pilgrim’s quality assurance data-sharing platform. Data is collected and entered in real time, enhancing our ability to share best management practices across the company and improve animal welfare performance.

Our 2021 Stories

Learn more about how our facilities and team members are helping us achieve our animal welfare goals.

Pilgrim’s Moy Park Releases 2021 Animal Welfare Report

Pilgrim's Moy Park

It’s important that producers like Moy Park not only respond to the requests of their customers, but that they take ownership of their own animal welfare strategy with strong governance and management. Establishing clear objectives and targets specific to their business, provides a good framework for continuous improvement and reporting forms a large part of…

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Pilgrim’s UK’s Richard Mellor Awarded ‘Pig Farmer of the Year’

Pilgrim's UK

Richard Mellor, a BQP pig farmer, has been awarded “Pig Farmer of the Year 2021” during the Farmers Weekly Awards, which recognizes hard-working and innovative farmers across the U.K. BQP, a Pilgrim’s UK subsidiary and the UK’s leading pig farming operation, represented two out of three finalists, also including Ryan Dyer of Hall Farm, Norfolk. Pig…

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Founding Member of IPWA


In 2019, the US-Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs (US-RSPE) and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance (IPWA) completed their Founding Membership Drive. Pilgrim’s was one of thirty-four organizations from across the supply chain to join as founding members. Other members include American Humane, Australian Eggs, Aviagen, BASF, Boehringer Ingelheim, Butterball LLC, Cal-Maine Foods, Cargill, Cobb-Vantress,…

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