Cargill adopts video auditing at beef plants

by Bryan Salvage
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WICHITA, KAS. — Cargill Beef officials announced plans to incorporate a system of video cameras in the slaughtering areas of its U.S. beef processing facilities as part of an animal welfare system that includes 24-hour remote video auditing of its animal handling practices.

Utilizing a Web-based system of software and remote auditing services from Mt. Kisco, N.Y.-based Arrowsight, Inc., all of Cargill’s U.S. beef slaughtering plants will have the system in place by the end of the year.

As the second-largest beef processor in North America, Cargill Meat Solutions processes more than 7.6 million cattle a year. Its North American Beef facilities are located at High River, Alberta; Guelph, Ontario; Milwaukee, Wis.; Wyalusing, Pa.; Schuyler, Neb.; Ft. Morgan, Colo.; Fresno, Calif.; Dodge City, Kas.; and Friona and Plainview, Texas.

The animal welfare auditing program, which was developed and managed by Arrowsight in collaboration with animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin, is designed to help plant operators teach and monitor animal handling performance.

"Cargill has adopted some of the most rigorous animal-care guidelines in the industry," said John Keating, Cargill Beef president. "This additional investment gives us the objective input we need to effectively train our people and improve our processes."

"Cargill has been a strong industry leader in the area of animal handling for many years," Dr. Grandin said. "I am pleased that the company is working with Arrowsight and believe that the Arrowsight service is the most comprehensive solution out there. It follows the American Meat Institute’s animal welfare audit system, compiles the data and sends it to the plants for their use to continually help improve their animal-welfare programs."

"We are pleased that Cargill has chosen Arrowsight as its partner to ensure that plant personnel are being conscientious in their protection of animals under their care and control," said Adam Aronson, Arrowsight Inc. chief executive officer.

In addition to implementing the remote video auditing service, Cargill created an industry-leading, humane animal-handling training and certification program for employees. The company believes its commitment and actions demonstrate Cargill’s drive to be the industry leader in evaluating, developing and continuously improving animal welfare protection programs.

"We believe that through our efforts we can raise the performance bar for our industry," Mr. Keating said.

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