Animal Health and Well-being

Indicator Definition

The cumulative effects of cattle health, nutrition, care and comfort.

Why is this indicator important to the retail and food service sector?

Animal health and well-being is one of the top sustainability concerns across different retail and food service stakeholder groups including consumers, shareholders, and advocacy groups.

Metrics

Level 1 − Does the company have a documented and publicly available animal care and handling policy? Does the company encourage the adoption of U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework metrics in its beef value chain?

Level 2 − Does the company verify compliance with its policy at least to the packer level? Does the company have a policy for audit failures?

Level 3 − Does the company engage its suppliers on continuous improvement and emerging issues regarding animal health and well-being in its beef value chain? Does the company track and assess progress on animal health and well-being outcomes that align with its policy?

Why did we choose these metrics?

Animal health and well-being is one of the top sustainability concerns across different retail and food service stakeholder groups including consumers, shareholders, and advocacy groups. Although the retail and food service sector does not directly interact with live animals, their health and well-being play an important role in being a responsible business, delivering consistent, quality products and meeting changing consumer and other stakeholder expectations. The retail and food service sector take this responsibility seriously and is committed to engaging both its customers and suppliers to continuously improve the health and well-being of the animals in its value chain.

Desired Outcomes

Adopting strategies that address these metrics can result in the following improved sustainability outcomes:

  • Creation of publicly available animal care and handling policy (or similar)
  • Verification of humane handling and stunning at the packer level
  • Increased collaboration with suppliers to continually improve animal health and well-being throughout the beef value chain

Why do these outcomes matter?

These outcomes indicate the key values of the company and their stance on animal welfare. The policy, verification, and/or collaboration with suppliers is an indication the retail and food service sector operation has placed prerequisite thought into animal health and well-being through the supply chain producing beef.

Success Criteria

1.   Increased number of companies that have a documented and publicly available animal welfare policy

2.   Engagement of suppliers and encouraged adoption of the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework metrics in the supply chain, including the BQA Program

3.   Verification of compliance with company policies at least to the packer level

4.   Tracking and assessment of progress on animal welfare outcomes

How does this metric continuously improve beef sustainability?

Engaging in continuous improvement is critical to have ongoing dialogue about cattle welfare and health throughout its lifecycle.

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