How the Food and Beverage Industry can Promote Animal Welfare

The food and beverage sector of the economy is vast and enormous.  It includes restaurants, cafeterias, food growers, packers, processors, retailers, caterers, hotels, schools, storage and transportation services and more.  To be successful, companies operating in the food and beverage industry must navigate a complex business environment.  Besides developing their brand and providing the right products at the right price to the right consumers, the industry must manage intergovernmental regulations and public scrutiny.

One area that food and beverage businesses must continuously monitor is animal welfare. While there are some bad actors in the industry, they are the minority.  The humane treatment of animals is important to individual companies and the industry as a whole.  Businesses know that humane treatment of animals is on the minds and in the hearts of consumers.  The American Farm Bureau reported that 95% of consumers believe farm animals should be treated well.  And the Food Industry Association found that animal welfare is the second most important issue for consumers.  Food safety, quality and consumer protection is the most important issue for consumers.   The Humane Society ranks companies on their animal welfare score and consumers are paying attention.

Farmer is working on farm with dairy cows.

How Can Companies Promote Animal Welfare?

Below are some suggestions on how companies can promote animal welfare in their own organizations:

1.     Create a transparent supply chain:  Companies can change their supplier selection criteria to ensure that supplier practices are humane.  They can make humane treatment of animals a prerequisite for doing business.  They can go a step further and work with suppliers to implement humane practices.

2.      Ensure that farm animals do not experience the following:

  • ​​hunger and thirst
  • environmental (weather related) discomfort
  • pain, injury, disease
  • inability to behave as animals during the span of their life
  • psychological injury, fear or distress

3.      In case of injury or illness, ensure that farm animals have access to medical attention from an animal specialist 

4.      Train employees on what acceptable treatment of animals looks like and make them accountable.  Give employees the proper tools to work with animals in their care.

5.      Keep abreast of new animal welfare regulations and communicate them to suppliers

6.      Only use hormones and antibiotics for illness as prescribed by a veterinarian. 

7.      Support education and awareness efforts throughout the supply chain.

A good farmer takes care of his chicken.

Humane Treatment During Harvesting

For decades, companies in the agricultural, food, and beverage sectors have been looking for processes to improve animal health and welfare.  One of the problems encountered by food processors and restaurant concepts is within the supply chain.  Retailers and even wholesalers are often many levels removed from the purchaser of meat, poultry and dairy products.  How do companies ensure humane treatment of animals when the suppliers are so far down the supply chain?

For this, many savvy companies turn to academia for advice.  One famous advisor is Temple Grandin.  She is an animal scientist and pioneer advocate of animal welfare in the USA.  She also takes into account the realities and complexities of the meat, poultry, and dairy businesses.

Her methods provide solutions for companies and help companies efficiently implement animal health and welfare strategies.  These methods include standards, guidelines, and measurement processes to improve animal welfare with suppliers.  Remarkably, Grandin has helped improve the processes of over half of the slaughter plants in the USA, including Halal and Kosher slaughter facilities.

Transportation of cattle.

Humane is Halal and Inhumane is Not

“A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” 

Prophet Muhammad: Hadith (Prophetic Traditions)

Muslims are instructed to treat all living creatures with kindness and respect, feed them, keep them healthy, and not to abuse or neglect them in any way.  There are dozens of prophetic sayings on this subject.

ISA understands the importance of the humane treatment of animals.  As such, ISA researches and analyzes products. ISA will track the product from the original source of materials and ingredients to the end product stages.

When it comes to the meat and poultry slaughter process, ISA has experienced Halal slaughter expertise for humane slaughter practices.  ISA also audits slaughter facilities to ensure proper and humane slaughter processes as part of their Halal compliance requirements.  This oversight gives consumers peace of mind.

It is important to note that many companies are motivated to improve animal welfare and eliminate cruelty against all living beings.  To gain well researched information on the subject, it’s wise to consult real academic research, and avoid over sensationalized mass media reports designed to trigger public outcry.

Udhiya animals eating grass near mountain.

There are companies who are doing everything possible to ensure that animals are treated humanely.  Halal certification helps relay that message to consumers.To learn more about Halal certification with ISA contact or visit

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