Operations


Three pillars support humanitarian management practices, essential for the successful adoption of best animal welfare care in all activities:

Operations

To monitor and evaluate practices related to humanitarian management, Marfrig adopts specific indicators and routine monitoring:

Monitoring. Marfrig's Animal Welfare staff regularly monitors operations, always following the standards of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), client protocols and current legislation. Several indicators are considered, such as number of falls, slips, vocalization, use of the electric stun pole, efficacy of stunning and quality of management. Other numbers are also observed, such as deaths, emergencies, hematomas (data resulting from the classification of hematomas in half carcasses), travel time, behavior and physical conditions of the animals on arrival and accommodation, in addition to the animals' thermal comfort, quality of structure and equipment, among others. 

According to weekly internal assessments, based on NAMI standards, in 2019 the average indexes verified were in accordance with the parameters considered acceptable by the institute:

Animal Welfare Parameters Acceptable parameters Parameters obtained
Stunning effectiveness on first shot Minimum 96% More than 98%
Bleed rail insensibility Inadmissible None - 0%
Falls Maximum 1% Less than 1%
Slips Maximum 3% Not less than 2%
Electric prod use Maximum 25% Less than 15%
Vocalization Maximum 3% Less than 1%


Indicators. In pursuit of continuous improvement, key performance indicators (KPIs) were defined for the Animal Welfare staff and goals established that will be disclosed annually in the company's sustainability reports or via other means of communication. 

Structures and equipment

References in academic research. The improvement of structures and equipment is based on scientific work, proven in practice. An example is the herringbone fish shape, adopted in the construction of practically all new corrals, following the concepts of Dr. Temple Grandin, a recognized Animal welfare specialist. The corridors, curves and circular areas were also adapted, in order to have the sides closed in to avoid distraction of the animals.

Thermal comfort. The units have sprinklers that refresh the animals housed in the structural quarters, without disturbing them. Many units also have shading systems, with specific and properly positioned coverings, which guarantee air circulation and animal comfort.

Accommodations. The company seeks to follow established laws and standards. Accommodation is in suitable facilities, with non-slip floors, sanitized after each lot change. Recommended densities are also followed, giving the animal the right to lie down, get up, move around and have access to food when the waiting time exceeds the number of hours established by legislation. Clean water sources are also offered, with abundant drinking water, for the entire time the animals remain in these locales.

Stunning. The units are equipped with the most modern tools for containment and  prior stunning, properly maintained and that, together with the recommended parameters and trained staff, contribute positively to the effectiveness of stunning in 100% of the animals designated for this method. The effectiveness of stunning is checked in all animals by assessing signs of unconsciousness, which must be prolonged. In addition to pneumatic equipment, others are available: portable, specific and exclusive for use in emergencies, or as backup, so that all animals are stunned as quickly as possible before any procedure that could cause pain. The requirements for animals destined for religious slaughter are maintained and respected according to what is required by the clients, taking into account the ordained humanitarian practices. 

TRAINING

At Marfrig, animal welfare training is conducted regularly. We seek innovation, dynamic interaction and awareness for the benefit of all: animals, managers, producers, transporters, the industry and consumers. Every year, all personnel responsible for handling and treating animals, from transport to slaughter, undergo training.

Formats

  • Integration. This topic is addressed starting with the orientation program for new employees in the company, and continues with efforts by company representatives to raise awareness and reinforce the importance of Marfrig’s ethical commitment, which is established through internal regulations. 
  • Periodic. Throughout the year, various company units provide specific technical training to employees and third parties, training that seeks to disseminate the correct procedures in the handling of animals. In 2019, for example, the training agenda on animal welfare involved 359 training sessions, which totaled 1,154.5 hours.