This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods. All opinions are entirely my own.
Over time I have written articles discussing the improvements on livestock care. I like to say that “big” doesn’t mean “bad” in terms of animal husbandry, and I enjoy sharing the positive improvements that are happening in the farming industry. There are a lot of myths out there about “factory farming,” but to us as farmers, these kinds of terms drive us crazy, and quite honestly we don’t really even know what that term means.
Yes, it’s true that farms have changed compared to farming from decades past. But everything has changed. Telecom has changed, the media has changed, our cars, homes, everything has vastly improved due to technology, and farming is no different. Everything a farmer does is for a good reason. When people think of “pasture-raised” animals, they only think of sunny days, green grass, and rainbows. They tend to not think about snow, ice, predators, disease, insect bites, sunburns, and extreme heat.
This is why today’s farmers are able to do a better job. Many animals are housed indoors with climate controlled environments; camera monitoring, on-site veterinarians, and computer efficiencies that can track their nutrition, health, and well being. The expression “factory farm” is used as a marketing term or an expression by animal activists to make animals look like they are raised in cruel conditions, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, 97 percent of farms are family owned from real family farmers who care. To learn more about what I mean, you can read the article I wrote on the topic here.
Tyson Foods is among the nation’s large agribusinesses that’s leading the way in revolutionizing the animal well-being and camera-monitoring experience, and I’ve been excited to hear about their new programs, which you can read more about in their press release here.
Tyson Foods has become an industry leader in poultry care and has added additional animal well-being experts, and top notch controlled-atmosphere stunning to a couple of their processing plants. (Coming soon.) They are the first in the industry to field animal well-being specialists across all operations, including chicken, beef, and pork. They’re also among the first major poultry companies to launch third-party video monitoring and auditing, covering 33 facilities!
Sometimes people might not realize how much care really goes into raising livestock — the fact is that experts on larger farms have PhDs in animal welfare, poultry, veterinary, dairy science, or the like. Folks should feel comfortable that there are people who devote their entire lives and careers to ensuring that these farm animals are raised in the best possible conditions, making sure they’re comfortable, happy, and healthy. Happy and healthy animals produce the best product; it is in every farmer’s best interest to ensure that the animals are living in an environment that is disease free and low stress. Tyson Foods has recently added an additional 60 dedicated full-time animal well-being specialists to their team. There is at least one at every facility that handles live animals, and they work on training and educating employees on best practices for animal treatment and handling. These programs are a win-win for everyone — especially the animals.
In a world where consumers want to learn more than ever before about how their food is produced, there has never been a better time to show true transparency in food production. This is why Tyson also launched a Facebook live video session last week which shows exactly that. Viewers were given the opportunity to ask questions, learn from poultry farmers, vets, animal health and welfare experts, etc. It’s definitely worth a watch!
This is an exciting time to be a farmer. Improvements in housing, feed efficiencies, cleanliness, technology, vaccine innovation, camera monitoring, drones, data tracking, etc. make today’s livestock more comfortable than ever before. These protocols also make it possible for most antibiotics to be a thing of the past. Although I don’t feel antibiotics should be demonized and are an important tool to animal husbandry, it’s not unusual to find chicken that’s been raised with no antibiotics ever, and this is hugely in part due to improved animal well being. A big thanks to Tyson Foods for opening their barn doors for everyone to see, and leading the way in animal well-being and #SustainablePoultry. For more information, visit www.tysonsustainability.com or www.tysonfoods.com/responsible-food/animal-well-being