Animal Welfare Services

  • Overview
  • Auditing and Certification
  • Animal Wellness Standards
  • Benefits of Audits and Certification
  • Why Work With NSF?

NSF International provides a full suite of animal welfare services including auditing and certification, label claim verification, traceability, chain of custody verification, sustainability and, separately, training and education. These services help ensure the health and wellness of farm animals at every stage of life as well as compliance to animal welfare guidelines and retailer requirements. The industries we service include beef, bison, goat, sheep, swine, dairy, meat and egg-laying poultry.

The food industry has become increasingly attuned to consumer and investor expectations. In order to meet these increasing demands for transparency and to proactively respond to emerging animal welfare trends, retailers and processors are requiring that animal handling and care guidelines are defined, implemented and measured. These guidelines are critical to the health and wellness of animals at every step from birth to slaughter.

Auditing and Certification

NSF’s innovative and comprehensive suite of animal wellness auditing and certification services is built upon a world-class integrity program, a customer-focused approach, and technical and operational excellence. Our services deliver confidence and brand protection with a local understanding and global reach throughout the global protein supply chain.

NSF International provides certification, supply chain assurance and second- and third-party auditing for many animal welfare standards in the beef, bison, goat, sheep, swine, dairy, poultry and layer (egg) industries including:

Industry Standards

  • U.S.: National Chicken Council (NCC), North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and National Turkey Federation (NTF)
  • Canada: BC Egg Marketing Board, Canadian Mink Breeders Association, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Ontario and Turkey Farmers of Canada

Certification Schemes

  • NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards
  • American Humane Association

NSF Standards and Audits

  • NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards
  • Raised Without Antibiotics
  • Global Traceable Down
  • Responsible Wool
  • Animal Welfare for Religious Slaughter: Red Meat Module
  • Animal Welfare for Religious Slaughter: Poultry Module
  • Cattle BSE and Specified Risk Material (SRM)
  • Beef E. coli 0157:h7 (N60)
  • Cross-Species Contamination

In addition, we perform claim verification for animal production as well as supply chain management, client proprietary animal welfare audits, and traceability and chain of custody verification.

Attending NSF training sessions does not provide an advantage, nor is it linked in any way to the granting of certification.

Animal Wellness Standards

NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards take a holistic approach to animal wellness and goes above and beyond traditional animal welfare to include additional dimensions such as the environment, physical conditions and the social and emotional well-being of the animals.

The food industry has become increasingly attuned to consumer and investor expectations and in order to meet these increasing demands for transparency and proactively respond to emerging trends regarding the welfare of animals, retailers and processors are requiring that animal handling and care guidelines are defined, implemented and measured. These guidelines are critical to the health and wellness of animals at every step from birth to slaughter.

Many companies with global supply chains have to work through a patchwork of local and regional approaches to demonstrate their commitment to animal wellness. To help companies manage their risk through a common, globally applicable approach, the NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards were created.

To be relevant in every country, region and market, the standards were designed to:

  • Recognize the variability in regulatory requirements and consumer and market pressures globally
  • Be outcome-based rather than prescriptive
  • Account for variations in awareness and implementation of scientific and technical developments

The Standards

The NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards address the full life cycle of all key species. These standards provide a solution for global companies looking for a consistent approach to animal wellness and are directly aligned with the five freedoms and science-based welfare principles and criteria.

No matter where in the world you source animals/animal products, the standards provide assurance that a strong, consistent animal wellness system is in place along the entire protein supply chain.

The standards cover:

  • Production
  • Transport
  • Assembly
  • Slaughter

For all key species including:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Small ruminants
  • Pig
  • Hatchery
  • Meat poultry
  • Egg-laying poultry

Tiered Approach

The standards have three tiers so there is an opportunity for specifying customers to bring suppliers on board at the baseline, but encourage growth and development to achieve higher tiers, up to certification.

The tiers are:

  • Baseline
  • Assurance
  • Certification

Benefits of Audits and Certification

As consumers become more educated and socially aware of the foods they eat, more companies are requiring their suppliers to follow specific animal welfare guidelines and ensuring that the key elements of an animal welfare management system is in place in organizations. The best way to determine and verify that your management system is working is through measurement and auditing.

Scientific measures used to qualify an animal’s welfare include living conditions, behavior, longevity, disease, physiology, reproduction and immunosuppression. Humane handling guidelines are critical from birth through slaughter to ensure proper treatment of animals. It is becoming more critical that producers, foodservice companies and retailers are aware of these standards and ensure their suppliers are in compliance to limit risk to their organizations.

Why Work With NSF?

NSF International supports thousands of companies in over 170 countries in protecting their brand and ensuring integrity through consulting, training, certification and second- and third-party auditing.

Our auditors’ education, training, industry experience and auditing expertise encompass the entire livestock and poultry supply chains. Many are also experienced in GFSI certification audits as well as specialized areas including sustainability, so we can combine your food safety, animal welfare and sustainability audits, reducing interruption to your business and auditing costs.

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