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Tyson Foods Announces New Audit Program To Help Ensure Responsible On-farm Treatment Of Animals

Promises Research Into New, Improved Ways to Raise Farm Animals

Will Appoint Outside Animal Well-being Advisory Committee

SPRINGDALE, Ark., Oct. 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyson Foods, Inc., (NYSE:TSN) the nation's leading producer of meat and poultry, today announced it is launching a program to personally audit the treatment of animals at the livestock and poultry farms that supply the company. The effort is in line with the company's core value to serve as a steward of the animals entrusted to it.

"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."

"Here's what I want people to know: at Tyson, we care enough to check on the farm; and we're determined to help find better ways to care for and raise healthy animals," said Smith.

Tyson currently works with more than 12,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers. This includes 5,000 family poultry farmers, 3,000 family hog farmers and 4,000 family cattle farmers. The company has long been an industry leader in animal welfare, employing more than a dozen veterinarians and maintaining an Office of Animal Well-being since 2000.

"We believe the farmers who supply us are the best in the world, and I think the audits will verify this," Smith said. "But, if we find problems, we want them fixed right away. To our knowledge, no other major U.S. meat or poultry company offers this kind of service to its farmers, customers and consumers."

FarmCheck™ Audit Program

The audits – called the Tyson FarmCheck™ 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. 

The FarmCheck™ program has been under development since early spring 2012. Although Tyson personnel have been conducting the audits so far, the company plans to ultimately involve independent, third party auditors. It also intends to expand the program to include chicken and cattle farms by January 2014. The audits are being developed by experienced veterinarians and animal welfare experts and are expected to include measures that build upon current voluntary farm industry programs.

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