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.
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.
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.