Housing | JBS USA | Sustainability Report

Our Commitment

JBS USA is committed to providing the livestock and poultry under our care with comfortable and safe housing that meets their needs. Housing is key to protecting and improving the health and well-being of our animals.

Housing for our Livestock and Poultry

Our facilities meet or exceed industry guidelines to make sure that our animals are comfortable and safeguarded from extreme weather events, predators and vermin. In our production facilities, pen stocking rates are set according to NAMI Animal Handling Guidelines, CFIA Meat Inspection Regulations and AMIC Industry Animal Welfare Standards, and livestock have access to clean water at all times.

Cattle in our JBS Australia feedlots are housed in groups in open-pen, dirt lots. Pen stocking rates meet or exceed industry standards and are based on the animal’s expected final weight. Cattle have access to an unlimited supply of clean water and are fed twice daily. The pens are sloped for proper drainage during winter months and wet periods to provide cattle a dry place to lie down and reduce mud in the pens. For feedlots that are located in regions with extreme weather, shade is provided to prevent heat stress, and bedding is supplied to provide a dry and warm place to lie down in winter months.

The hogs we raise in the U.S. are housed indoors where health and welfare are prioritized. Our sows are provided with unlimited access to clean water and are fed a nutritionally balanced diet based on life stage and individual body condition. Weaned and growing hogs in the nursery and finishing stages of production are provided with unlimited access to clean water and feed. Specific standard operating procedures for maintaining animal comfort and housing are further defined in the Live Pork Production Manuals. Climate-controlled ventilation systems are expected to be maintained to promote animal comfort, control humidity, deliver quality air and maintain desirable temperatures according to hog size and life stage. 100% of our U.S.-owned sows are housed in open pen systems based on the standard set in Colorado Senate Bill 08-201, which states, “A Gestating Sow [shall/may] be kept in a manner that permits the sow to stand up, lie down and turn around without touching the sides of its enclosure until no earlier than 12 days prior to the expected date of farrowing. For purposes of this standard, a ‘Gestating Sow’ shall mean a confirmed pregnant member of the porcine species with such confirmation typically occurring between days 40 and 45 of gestation. Until confirmation of pregnancy, such animals may be individually housed.”

At Pilgrim’s, our family farm partners who raise our breeder hens, which produce hatching eggs, use fresh shavings as bedding material in hen houses. These shavings are clean, absorbent, free of sharp objects and resistant to fungal growth. Our service technicians visit our breeders weekly to monitor chicken health. At our hatcheries, the temperature in the chick-holding room is targeted for chick comfort based on their internal temperature. We monitor and document ambient temperatures on an hourly basis, making any needed changes as soon as possible. We make sure our chicks have enough space to prevent overheating and that they are not placed under direct air flow that could cause them to become chilled. Before placing any chicks at a farmer’s broiler farm, we go through our pre-placement checklist to make sure the farm and houses are neat and orderly, ventilation and temperature are ideal for brooding, ammonia levels are appropriate and lighting and bedding are in line with program requirements. In addition, our European poultry operations are pioneering industry-leading initiatives to continually improve the housing of poultry by providing environmental enrichment, windows and provision activities, such as perches and bales. 

Pilgrim’s UK higher welfare supply chain contracts with farmers who raise all sows according to the RSPCA higher welfare outdoor bred standards as a minimum. Sows are free from confinement during gestation and farrowing. Pigs are born outdoors and are provided with shelter, where they remain until they are weaned at approximately 28 days of age. All of our hogs in our higher welfare supply chain have permanent access to environmental enrichment. Pilgrim’s UK also sources hogs from independent farm partners. Those partners meet, and often exceed, the requirements of the Red Tractor or QMS assurance schemes and must provide hogs with permanent access to environmental enrichment. Pilgrim’s UK also requires that sows are housed in open pen systems during gestation.