WASHINGTON – Tyson’s announcement of an animal welfare audit program would be more meaningful if the company would source its pork from pigs not kept in gestation stalls, according to Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Tyson Foods, Inc. launched the Tyson FarmCheck Program, a new auditing program that allows the company to audit the treatment of its livestock and poultry suppliers. Tyson currently has 12,000 suppliers consisting of 5,000 poultry farms, 3,000 hog farms and 4,000 cattle farms. Audits have already begun at some of the hog farms that supply the company.

“Audits are valuable if farm inspectors ask the right set of questions,” Pacelle said in a statement on the HSUS website. “We’ve not suggested that Tyson contractors are denying food to animals or intentionally abusing them, but that they are denying them enough space to even turn around.”

HSUS said the Tyson's announcement didn't go far enough and the organization urged the company to follow Temple Grandin’s recommendation to stop using gestation stalls.

"The company is rapidly becoming an outlier by having no timetable to phase out its use of crates in its supply chain," HSUS said.

The HSUS had filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May saying that Tyson’s animal welfare policies “were hollow, given that the company lacked any meaningful audit program.”

Tyson said its announcement was not a response to any release or announcement from any animal welfare groups.