2018 Key Facts and Figures


scores achieved on external animal welfare audits


U.S. beef production facilities’ Animal Welfare Index score, surpassing their goal


U.S. pork production facilities’ Animal Welfare Index score, surpassing their goal


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

Ensuring the well-being of the livestock and poultry under our care is an uncompromising commitment at JBS USA. Our business begins with the well-being of our animals, and we are dedicated to ensuring the humane treatment, handling and slaughter of livestock and poultry. Animal welfare is embedded in the framework of our culture, and we continually strive to improve our welfare efforts through the use of new technologies and the implementation of standards that meet and exceed regulatory requirements and industry guidelines.

JBS USA has established and implemented animal welfare programs in all of our business units to promote the humane treatment of animals throughout every stage of the animal’s life. 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

Animal Welfare

Achieve a 90% or better on our JBS USA Animal Health and Welfare Scorecard. We are on track to achieve this goal.

*Goal set for our U.S. and Canadian facilities

Our Management Approach

At JBS USA, the proper and humane treatment of animals is addressed through Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), verification and process improvements designed to promote animal welfare and product quality. Livestock and poultry destined and received for slaughter at JBS USA facilities are treated in accordance with animal handling SOPs and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) regulations, the National Chicken Council (NCC) Animal Welfare Guidelines, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Meat Inspection regulations, Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en la Producción de Pollo En Engorda de SAGARPA y SENASICA, the Council Regulation N˚1099/2009, the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines or the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption regarding animal welfare, dependent on region and protein. In the unusual event that an SOP, guideline or regulation is violated, corrective action is taken.

To continually improve the care and well-being of our livestock and poultry, we have set aggressive 2020 animal welfare goals according to our JBS USA Animal Health and Welfare Scorecard as part of our Sustainable Management System.

The scorecard was developed by our JBS USA animal welfare team and uses a combined 19 indicators selected for their importance to the health and welfare of our animals. The indicators are weighted on a 100-point scale across eight main areas of importance, including compliance, annual audits (internal and third-party), losses, priority indicators, investment, transportation, management and health. We are confident that, by increasing our focus on monitoring the health and welfare of our livestock and poultry, we will continue to further identify best practices and opportunities for continued improvement.

Each facility within our U.S. and Canadian business units has set an individual goal, which is aggregated to create a business unit-level animal health and welfare goal. Finally, JBS USA business unit goals are aggregated to form our consolidated 2020 JBS USA animal welfare goal for both production facilities and live operations.

Our senior leadership is committed to ensuring that the well-being of the livestock and poultry under our care is firmly embedded in our culture. From procurement and transportation to operations and quality assurance, every JBS USA team member is held accountable for the humane and ethical treatment of our animals. We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of any kind, and all team members are required to report any violations anonymously 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, up to and including termination of employment, termination of a supplier’s contract and/or reporting to the government authority responsible for overseeing animal welfare.

Pilgrim’s, Sanford Facility

Ownership and Support

We have created management structures that encourage accountability and promote ownership within our quality assurance and humane handling teams. Nearly every JBS USA production facility has a full-time Quality Assurance Manager or Officer who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of our animal welfare program, which includes facility assessment, training programs and ongoing monitoring. For our beef and pork production facilities in the U.S. and Canada, this team member is a professional animal auditor certification organization (PAACO)-trained humane handling specialist, and in Australia, our Quality Assurance Managers are trained according to industry Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) skills and are Australia Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS) approved auditors. In Europe, our AWOs are certified through an industry recognized animal welfare training body – Animal Welfare Training Ltd. In addition, all personnel handling live birds must have a certificate of competency (COC), which is an assessed qualification issued by the regional regulatory authority (Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Great Britain or the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland).

In most facilities, the Quality Assurance Manager reports to the Facility Manager and receives support from the Corporate Animal Welfare Manager. For our beef and poultry facilities in the U.S., the Quality Assurance Manager reports to the Corporate Head of Quality Assurance and Technical Services and receives support from the Corporate Animal Welfare Manager. The Corporate Animal Welfare Manager oversees the animal welfare performance of multiple facilities and provides individual facility support by sharing best management practices and offering assistance to address specific issues, should they arise. The Corporate Animal Welfare Manager reports to the Head of Technical Services or the Vice President of Operations for each business unit, who reports directly to the President of the business unit. In Pilgrim’s, animal welfare is supported further by the Chief Animal Welfare Officer, who is also the Head Veterinarian, who reports to the Head of Live Operations who reports to the President of the business unit.

Each production facility also has an Animal Welfare Team comprised of team members from livestock and poultry handling, processing, quality assurance, operations, procurement and human resources, who make sure that the policies and procedures required by the animal welfare program, including annual training of all team members, are being correctly implemented and followed.

For JBS USA Live Pork, the Director of Animal Welfare provides program animal welfare oversight and program implementation support to all company-owned and contract farms. The Director of Animal Welfare reports directly to the Head of Operations, who reports to the President of the business unit. JBS USA Live Pork also employs three licensed and accredited veterinarians and two swine nutritionists to 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.

These management structures allow for ownership of compliance at the facility level, with strategic regional and corporate support and oversight at the highest levels of our organization. We believe this resilient structure of local ownership, coupled with senior-level support, has led to our strong animal welfare performance and improvements over time.

In addition, our animal welfare programs are often reviewed by world-renowned animal handling specialist Dr. Temple Grandin and other qualified animal welfare experts at Colorado State University. 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.

Education and Training

Education, training and planning are essential to ensuring the implementation of our animal welfare programs and SOPs. All new JBS USA team members receive department-specific training during orientation, and in our North American, Australian and European production facilities, 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. 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 hotlines or directly to management.


At JBS USA, all of our facilities are audited regularly to guarantee compliance with our animal welfare programs. Depending on region, quality assurance personnel at each JBS USA livestock production facility conduct daily audits to verify adherence to USDA, NAMI (North American Meat Institute) Animal Handling Guidelines, the CFIA Meat Inspection Regulations and the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) Industry Animal Welfare Standards for Livestock and Processing Establishments. As a component of the animal welfare programs at each JBS USA production facility, livestock transporters are audited daily to verify adherence to JBS USA humane handling standards, the NAMI Transportation Guidelines, the CFIA Health of Animal Regulations Livestock Transport Requirements and the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption. The transporters, schedulers and plant personnel are in constant communication with one another to ensure prompt delivery and safe unloading of animals at each facility. In addition, the procurement teams at every U.S. beef and pork production facility verify producer compliance with Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) or Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus certification and transporter compliance with Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT) or the National Pork Board’s Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) program.

Every production facility undergoes annual third-party animal handling audits by a PAACO-certified auditor. 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. Finally, government inspectors monitor animal welfare practices to guarantee compliance with regulations.

In addition, we have implemented a video auditing system in most of our beef and pork production facilities. This allows us to conduct real-time internal auditing from a viewing room and provide team members with immediate feedback for improvement. In the U.S., our video footage and process is also audited remotely by Arrowsight®, an independent third party whose team members are trained in auditing to NAMI Animal Handling Guidelines. Audit alerts and daily summaries provide facilities with a third-party source of information for process improvement. This system complements our animal welfare program by enhancing our training programs to develop and improve animal handling skills in all of our production facilities.

In the U.S., we also verify that our supply chain partners who raise the cattle and hogs that we purchase are BQA or PQA+ certified by conducting third-party audits according to the BQA Feedyard Assessment for cattle and the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) for hogs.

At Pilgrim’s, in the U.S., animal welfare audits are conducted on a minimum of an annual basis at production facilities by PAACO-certified auditors. Both Pilgrim’s Quality Assurance personnel and USDA Inspectors monitor animal welfare practices at our production facilities daily to ensure that chickens are handled and slaughtered as per both the company and NCC Guidelines. In Mexico, our animal welfare programs are aligned with the Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en la Producción de Pollo En Engorda de SAGARPA y SENASICA. In Europe, all Pilgrim’s Moy Park poultry farms are Red Tractor approved and meet or exceed Red Tractor, Bord Bia or equivalent welfare standards. Annually, an external auditor audits each farm to Red Tractor standards, which results in Assured Chicken Production (ACP) Certification. Our Pilgrim’s Moy Park production facilities 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.

JBS USA Live Pork farms are regularly assessed by production field managers, veterinarians and the Director of Animal Welfare to ensure that the health and well-being of our animals are maintained. Field managers conduct regular farm visits to measure animal production, health and 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 CSIA tool. The CSIA is a PAACO-certified common, on-farm audit system developed by a task force of industry stakeholders including producers, veterinarians, animal scientists, processers, and retail representatives to provide consumers with greater assurances regarding animal well-being and food safety practices.

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.

Industry Collaboration

Our efforts to ensure the humane treatment of animals begin with our producer partners and their dedication to providing animals within our supply chain with humane care and treatment. JBS USA recognizes that, to achieve the best standards of care that promote the health and well-being of our animals, we must collaborate with industry partners and peers. Our participation in precompetitive, industry-focused committees (listed in our Who We Are chapter of this report) allows JBS USA to both demonstrate leadership and gain valuable insights regarding potential improvements to our animal welfare programs.

Our 2018 Stories

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

A map of France with a location pin indicating the Fleury-les-Aubrais location.


Pilgrim’s Moy Park

BoviWell, a cattle welfare evaluation tool, was built in 2013 thanks to several consultations with scientific and technical experts, institutions, NGOs and trials on farms. It is articulated around the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, inspired by Welfare Quality® protocol and methodology (sample, aggregation, scoring) and aimed at being completed within a maximum of two…

Read More

Research Partnership with Colorado State University


Our U.S. Beef production facilities formed a partnership with scientists at Colorado State University to further refine unloading and handling processes to improve animal welfare and minimize carcass bruising. This innovative research project will help the entire beef industry improve handling practices during unloading and transportation.

Read More
Map of the United States of America with a location pin indicating Greeley, Colorado

A Founding Member of ICASA


In 2018, JBS USA became a founding member of the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA) is a public-private partnership advancing research on animal health and welfare as well as antimicrobial stewardship in agriculture. This consortium was created by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to increase investment in research promoting the…

Read More
Map of the United States of America with a location pin indicating Fair Oaks, Indiana

Annual JBS USA Animal Welfare Training

JBS USA Pork and Beef

The JBS USA Pork and Beef animal welfare team, inclusive of corporate animal welfare managers, procurement, operations and humane handling departments at each of our hog and beef production facilities, hosted their annual animal welfare training conference at Fair Oaks Farms. The team heard from industry thought leaders, discussed best management practices, shared challenges and…

Read More