Springdale-based Tyson Foods says it has formed an “independent” Farm Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel to focus on “proper treatment” of farm animals.

Members of the panel include:

  • Ryan Best, 2011-2012 president, Future Farmers of America
  • Anne Burkholder, cattle feedlot owner
  • Ed Cooney, executive director of the Congressional Hunger Center
  • Gail Golab, Ph.D., DVM, director of American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Division
  • Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science, Colorado State University
  • Karl Guggenmos, dean of culinary education, Johnson & Wales University
  • Tim Loula, DVM, co-founder and co-owner of Swine Vet Center in St. Peter, Minnesota
  • Miyun Park, executive director, Global Animal Partnership
  • Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, National Chicken Council
  • Richard Raymond, M.D., former U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Food Safety
  • Janeen Salak-Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor in Animal Sciences University of Illinois
  • Janice Swanson, Ph.D., chair and professor, Animal Behavior and Welfare, Michigan State University
  • Bruce Webster, Ph.D., professor of poultry science, University of Georgia

Tyson Foods said the panel members were invited to join because of their “demonstrated interests across a broad range of issues related to raising farm animals responsibly.” ┬áThe group will help determine research priorities and suggest ways to improve Tyson’s audit program, the company said.

Tyson Foods has come under intense criticism from animal rights groups such as PETA for its slaughter techniques. A 2004 undercover video showed live chickens being scalded sparking a major controversy.

In 2006, the company concluded after two years of research that controlled atmosphere stunning did not result in a more humane alternative to conventional electrical stunning of food animals. At the same time, Tyson contributed $1.5 million to the University of Arkansas Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences to programs to oversee research and classes focused on the humane management and treatment of food animals.

The panel named Thursday (May 16) will also serve as advisors to Tyson’s FarmCheck program initiative, which launched in October 2012 to focus on a broad array of animal well-being issues. The FarmCheck program includes:

  • Auditing the treatment of animals at livestock and poultry farms that supply the company
  • Using research to identify potential new and better methods for animal care and handling
  • Re-affirming Tyson’s commitment to animal well-being issues with a dedicated senior management team

“The FarmCheck program continues our long-standing commitment to responsible farm animal care,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “This Advisory Panel is a diverse group of experts who bring valuable perspective on animal well-being. They will help shape the future of the program and ensure its effectiveness.”

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