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Animal Welfare

Great Cattle Come From Great Care

Animal Care Is Our Obligation

Treating cattle well isn’t just an ethical imperative; it’s key to our success as a business. Each day, we implement multiple animal welfare measures to keep cattle healthy and comfortable while entrusted to our care, and we procure them from supply partners who share in that commitment.

Our low-stress animal handling program includes employee trainings, monitoring, and third-party auditing so that cattle are treated with the respect they deserve. Learn more about National Beef's commitment to animal welfare.

Employee Training

Animal care starts with our dedicated employees, who are proud of their essential role in delivering high-quality beef. Each year, they are trained in low-stress animal handling techniques. Employees who handle animals are certified to do so.

Internal Monitoring and Third-Party Audits

Along with ongoing visual monitoring, the National Beef® Quality Assurance Department conducts random weekly audits of all animal-related processes. These audits are done in accordance with the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) Animal Welfare Guidelines.

Third-party audits of our handling practices and procedures are also performed by industry experts like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Teams observe 100 animals per audit, monitoring for vocalizations, falls, and irregular behaviors during the animal handling process. Facilities, equipment, and unloading practices are also examined. The Food Safety and Inspection Service has constant access to all aspects of animal handling and receiving areas during daily operation of our federally inspected processing facilities.

Trusted Supply Partners

We have built long and trusted relationships with our cattle suppliers, who represent generations of knowledge and commitment to raising cattle responsibly and ethically. All supply partners who deliver cattle to National Beef processing facilities have been certified by the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. Based on decades of research, this flagship program demonstrates the industry’s commitment to food safety and animal welfare.
  • BQA is a nationally coordinated animal care and management program that follows science-based best practices to protect the health and welfare of cattle.
  • BQA provides U.S. beef producers guidance on low-stress handling techniques, herd health protection standards, and record-keeping to document practices.
  • BQA encourages cattlemen within every segment of the industry to continually adopt practices to improve beef safety and wholesomeness.

Minimizing Cattle Stress in Transport

Our commitment to cattle care extends to cattle transport to our facilities. Strong partnerships with leading cattle feeders allow us to reduce the distance they travel to our facilities. Most are sourced locally from within 250 miles of our facilities, minimizing cattle stress.

National Beef requires all cattle haulers delivering to our facilities to be Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQAT) certified. BQAT is part of the national BQA initiative that is specifically focused on transportation of cattle. It outlines guidelines for proper loading and unloading, weather considerations, and bio-security measures.