Tyson Foods to audit farms on animal treatment

Tyson Foods, the nation's largest producer of meats is announcing a program to audit the treatment of animals at livestock and poultry farms that supply the company. Tyson is currently supplied by more than 12,000 independent livestock and poultry farmer.

"Our company is made up of ethical, responsible and compassionate people, and we believe the family farmers who supply us share our values," said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "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 says it employs more than a dozen veterinarians who oversee operations at an Office of Animal Well-being.

The audits -- called the Tyson FarmCheck(TM) Program -- have already begun on a trial basis on some of the 3,000 independent hog farms that supply the company. Auditors are visiting the farms to check on such things as animal access to food and water, as well as proper human-animal interaction and worker training.