Sunday November 29th, 2015 7:55PM

Tyson to audit treatment of animals

By The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The nation's largest meat company, Tyson Foods Inc., announced Friday that it will do an animal treatment audit of suppliers' farms.

The news comes as animal welfare activists have been pressuring Tyson to move away from cramped cages for pregnant pigs, but the Springdale, Ark.-based company said its latest move is not in response to actions from the Humane Society of the United States or other organizations.

"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," Tyson president and CEO Donnie Smith said in a statement.

Audits have already begun on some of the 3,000 independent hog farms that supply the company with pork. Tyson, which has a poultry processing plant in Cumming, said it plans to expand the program to include chicken and cattle farms by January 2014.

Auditors visiting the farms will check on things such as animals' access to food and water and proper human-animal interaction.

Tyson said its employees have been conducting the audits so far, but the company plans to involve independent, third-party auditors.

"These audits will give us a chance to correct any minor problems that are discovered and, if necessary, to stop doing business with any farms where animal treatment or conditions do not meet our standards," Smith said.

Tyson's announcement earned praise from Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

"We believe Tyson's plan is a good model, and we strongly encourage suppliers without such programs to look for ways they can improve the way food is produced," Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of food for Wal-Mart U.S., said in a statement.

Not everyone was so pleased.

The Humane Society of the United States, which has been leading the fight against cramped cages for pregnant pigs, said Tyson's announcement would mean more if it would stop buying from farmers who confine pregnant pigs in so-called gestation crates.

"Audits are valuable if the inspector asks the right question," HSUS president Wayne Pacelle told The Associated Press in an email. "We've not suggested that Tyson contractors are denying food to animals, but that they are denying them enough space to even turn around."

Tyson works with more than 12,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers. Thus far, it has resisted pressure from HSUS to move away from farmers who use gestation crates, even as companies including McDonald's, Burger King and Safeway have pledged to do so.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Business News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 1 day ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 2 days ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 3 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )