2018 Key Facts and Figures


scores achieved by Pilgrim’s U.S. on external animal welfare audits


of external audits passed by Pilgrim’s Moy Park


of external audits passed by Pilgrim’s Mexico


of team members who have contact with live chickens have been trained according to our animal welfare programs

Ensuring the well-being of the chickens under our care is an uncompromising commitment at Pilgrim’s. Our business begins with the well-being of our chickens, and we are dedicated to their humane treatment, handling and slaughter. Animal welfare is embedded in the framework of our culture, and we continually strive to improve our welfare efforts through the use of new technologies and the implementation of standards that meet and exceed regulatory requirements and industry guidelines.

Pilgrim’s has established and implemented animal welfare programs in all of our business units to promote the humane treatment of animals throughout every stage of their life. Our animal welfare programs lay out the appropriate practices, controls, training and documentation, and are motivated by the Five Freedoms:

  1. Freedom to express natural behavior
  2. Freedom from injury and disease
  3. Freedom from discomfort
  4. Freedom from thirst and hunger
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

Animal Welfare Goals

Achieve a 90% or better on our Animal Health and Welfare Scorecard for all processing plants.

Achieve a 95% or better on our Animal Health and Welfare Scorecard for our Live Operations.

We are on track to achieve these goals.


*Goals set for our U.S. facilities

Our Management Approach

At Pilgrim’s, the proper and humane treatment of animals is addressed through standard operating procedures (SOPs), verification and process improvements designed to guarantee animal welfare and product quality. Chickens destined and received for slaughter at Pilgrim’s facilities are treated in accordance with animal handling SOPs and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations, the National Chicken Council (NCC) Animal Welfare Guidelines, Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en la Producción de Pollo En Engorda de SAGARPA y SENASICA and the Council Regulation N˚1099/2009, dependent on region. In the unusual event an SOP, guideline or regulation is violated, corrective action is taken immediately. 

To continually improve the care and well-being of our chickens, we have set aggressive 2020 animal welfare goals according to our Pilgrim’s Animal Health and Welfare Scorecard as part of our Sustainable Management System. To date, these goals were only set by our U.S. business; however, we are currently working to expand this approach across our global operations.

Our animal health and welfare scorecard was developed by our Pilgrim’s animal welfare team and uses a combination of 19 indicators selected for their importance to the health and welfare of our chickens. The indicators are weighted on a 100-point scale across eight main areas of importance, including compliance, annual audits, both internal and third-party, losses, priority indicators, investment, transportation, management and health. We are confident that, by increasing our focus on monitoring the health and welfare of our chickens, we will continue to further identify best practices and opportunities for continued improvement.

Our senior leadership is committed to ensuring that the well-being of the chickens under our care is firmly embedded in our culture. From procurement and transportation to operations and quality assurance, Pilgrim’s team members are held accountable for the humane and ethical treatment of our animals. We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of any kind, and all team members are required to report any violations anonymously or directly to management. Team members or family farm and ranch partners who violate our Animal Welfare Policy and associated procedures are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, termination of a supplier’s contract and/or reporting to the government authority responsible for overseeing animal welfare.

Ownership and Support

We have created management structures that encourage accountability and promote ownership within our Quality Assurance and Humane Handling teams. Nearly every Pilgrim’s production facility has a full-time quality assurance manager or officer who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of our animal welfare program, which includes facility assessment, training programs and ongoing monitoring. In most facilities, the quality assurance manager reports to the quality assurance director and receives support from the chief animal welfare officer. The quality assurance director reports to the senior vice president or head of quality assurance and technical services (who reports to the president of the business unit) and receives support from the chief animal welfare officer.

The quality assurance director oversees the animal welfare performance of multiple facilities and provides individual facility support by sharing best management practices and offering assistance to address specific issues, should they arise. Each production facility also has an Animal Welfare team comprised of team members from poultry handling, processing, quality assurance, operations, procurement and human resources who make sure the policies and procedures required by the animal welfare program, including annual training of all team members, are being correctly implemented and followed.

Animal welfare is supported further by the chief animal welfare officer, who is also the head veterinarian, who reports to the head of live operations who reports to the president of the business unit. In Europe, our animal welfare officer is certified through an industry-recognized animal welfare training body, Animal Welfare Training Ltd. In addition, all personnel handling chickens must have a certificate of competency (COC), which is an assessed qualification issued by the regional regulatory authorities: Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Great Britain or the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland.

These management structures allow for ownership of compliance at the facility level with strategic regional and corporate support and oversight at the highest levels of our organization. We believe this resilient structure of local ownership, coupled with senior-level support, has led to our strong animal welfare performance and improvements over time.

In addition, our animal welfare programs are often reviewed by animal welfare experts at Colorado State University. These lasting academic partnerships have assisted Pilgrim’s in identifying and investing in additional upgrades to both our facilities and team member training programs to further enhance the welfare of our animals.

Education and Training

Education, training and planning are essential to ensuring the implementation of our animal welfare programs and SOPs. All new Pilgrim’s team members receive department-specific training during orientation, and all team members who handle chickens must attend annual refresher trainings. Our quality assurance and human resources managers make sure all training requirements are completed as scheduled, documented and available for review. We have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of any kind, and all team members are required to report any violations, either anonymously through our hotline or directly to management.


At Pilgrim’s, our facilities are audited regularly to guarantee compliance with our animal welfare programs. In the U.S., third-party animal welfare audits are conducted on a minimum of an annual basis at production facilities by PAACO-certified auditors. In addition, corporate internal animal welfare audits are conducted on a minimum of an annual basis at production facilities by PAACO-certified internal auditors. Both Pilgrim’s quality assurance personnel and USDA inspectors monitor animal welfare practices at our production facilities daily to ensure that chickens are handled and slaughtered as per both the company’s and NCC guidelines. In Mexico, our animal welfare programs are aligned with the Buenas Prácticas Pecuarias en la Producción de Pollo En Engorda de SAGARPA y SENASICA. In Europe, all Pilgrim’s Moy Park poultry farms are Red Tractor approved and meet or exceed Red Tractor, Bord Bia or equivalent welfare standards. Annually, an external auditor audits each farm to Red Tractor standards, which results in Assured Chicken Production (ACP) certification. Our Pilgrim’s Moy Park production facilities are audited according to the Council Regulation N˚1099/2009 standards on animal welfare. Animal welfare audit results and key performance indicators are integrated into the Pilgrim’s quality assurance data-sharing platform. Data is collected and entered in real time, enhancing our ability to share best management practices across the company and improve animal welfare performance.

Our 2018 Stories

Learn more about how our facilities and team members are helping us achieve our animal welfare goals.

A map of France with a location pin indicating the Fleury-les-Aubrais location.


Pilgrim’s Moy Park

BoviWell, a cattle welfare evaluation tool, was built in 2013 thanks to several consultations with scientific and technical experts, institutions, NGOs and trials on farms. It is articulated around the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, inspired by Welfare Quality® protocol and methodology (sample, aggregation, scoring) and aimed at being completed within a maximum of two…

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Focused on Enriched Farms

Pilgrim’s Moy Park

Over the past five years, Pilgrim’s Moy Park has increased its proportion of windowed houses with natural light from 60 percent to 65 percent to 75 percent to 80 percent in 2015 and 100 percent in 2017. Over 92 percent of our indoor chicken houses also have hot water heating, helping us improve our welfare…

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Good Livestock Practices Certified

Pilgrim’s Mexico

In 2018, Pilgrim’s Mexico established a program with Good Livestock Practices certification. The program includes compliance with various specifications on biosecurity, animal welfare, composting systems and treatment of sub-products generated at the farm. The program is permanently audited and the certification is renewed on an annual basis. In cases where a deficiency is recognized, action…

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Map of the United States of America

Implementing New Ideas

Pilgrim’s USA

The Pilgrim’s USA team eliminated the use of chemical disinfectants in their hatcheries and replaced them by using technology that makes soap and disinfectant out of salt, water and electricity. In addition, the team has nearly eliminated the use of chemical insecticides in breeder houses through the use of small wasp larva that kill flies.…

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