Breeding is a crucial step for complying with Animal Welfare practices. Each protein chain is served according to the best global practices, in line with its peculiarities.
It is worth highlighting that practices like cloning and genetic engineering are not adopted in the supply chain from JBS. Additionally, the company does not use any type of growth hormone in Brazil.
JBS has approximately 90,000 livestock suppliers in Brazil. This way, the Company is entirely supplied by outsourced farms .
To ensure that the correct practices are adopted in farms that supply livestock to JBS, the Company conducts qualification works in compliance with the Good Handling Practices Handbook from the Group of Studies and Research in Animal Ethology and Ecology (Grupo Etco), resulting from the work by the College of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences of the Sao Paulo State University Júlio de Mesquita Filho (FCAV-Unesp) targeted at Animal Welfare. The training, started in 2016, has the goal of stressing to the team members the importance of correctly handling the animals, avoiding suffering and contusions. The project will continue for the coming years and will include more farms.
From the livestock acquired by JBS in Brazil, approximately 25% spends 90 to 120 days of their life in a feedlot, and the remaining time until the animals are 30 to 36 months old is spent on pasture. The other animals, or 75% of the total acquired, are bred throughout their lives in pasture.
POULTRY AND PORK
Seara has more than 9,000 integrated chicken, turkey and pork suppliers in Brazil, divided into own farms and integrated breeders.
At the own JBS farms, just like with integrated suppliers, the animals are fed exclusively with feed produced by the own Company. The feed mix, which includes corn, soy and other grains, does not use any type of growth hormone, as determined by the Brazilian legislation. The Company also provides all consumables to the producer, such as chicks, vitamins, chlorine, disinfectants and, when necessary and prescribed by the veterinarian from JBS, medications.
The producers receive constant assistance and training, and are also periodically visited by the Company’s technical team, comprised of more than 300 field professionals, to check if the practice adopted complies with the principles required by JBS, and also to guide farmers about the best practices.
Through Technical Guidelines (OTs), Seara defines the criteria to be adopted by the producers. In addition to OTs and checklists, other control records are used, so that the Animal Welfare indicators can be tracked and controlled systematically.
Indicators such as housing density, percentage of callosities in the bird feet, percentage of initial and final viability, nutritional levels, availability of proper feed, water quality control and availability, compliance with the five fundamental freedoms and environment control (temperature, humidity, ventilation, lighting and quality of “bed”), are on the list of factors controlled by farmers, in order to guarantee the animal well-being during the production.
In poultry farming, the density in breeders complies with a maximum limit, according to the best market practices, so that all birds have space to move freely and have access to the substrate (also known as avian bed), which allows them to manifest their natural behavior. A minimum darkness period of four uninterrupted hours is also adopted in all farms, to offer proper rest to the animals.
The debeaking process is not executed in broiler farms. In production farms, the laser procedure is only used in male birds, preventing that the female is injured during copulation. This practice is the most modern executed in the market and is in line with the best global Animal Welfare practices.
Concerning the use of antibiotics, JBS has gradually reduced the amount used in its production, not being used preventively, and the Company is committed to continue reducing its use along the years.
The platform “Hoje tem Frango”, created by Seara, includes different information concerning poultry breeding, which can contribute to understanding how Animal Welfare and the company’s production practices are executed.
In pork breeding, the farm density also complies with a maximum limit, according to the best market practices, so that the animals have space to move freely and express their natural behavior.
Teeth cutting is not a practice used by piglet producing farms from Seara. Adaptations in handling have allowed abandoning this practice. Tail docking is still used with the goal of avoiding problems for adult hogs, since maintaining the tail intact can facilitate cannibalism among these animals. This procedure is acknowledged internally as the best practice to ensure production within modern Animal Welfare standards.
Concerning surgical castration, the practice is also abolished from the piglet production processes from JBS. Currently, the Company opts for immunological castration, promoting more comfort and less stress to the animals.