USDA Adds Animal Welfare Assessment Program

By Lisa M. Keefe on 1/2/2017

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has developed a program under which it will offer assessments of animal welfare standards and programs to determine if they conform to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Specification (TS) 34700 — Animal Welfare Management/General Requirements and Guidance for Organizations in the Food Supply Chain.

The ISO Technical Specification applies to terrestrial animals bred or kept for the production of food or feed, and was developed to ensure that food-producing animals are raised, transported and processed humanely. The Technical Specification also establishes a strong framework for industry animal welfare standards and programs to verify that they are rooted in science and can be widely accepted.
AMS has developed a procedure for organizations interested in having their standards and programs verified against ISO TS 34700. Interested companies and organizations should review the procedure, “USDA ISO TS 34700 Animal Welfare Assessment.” AMS plans to work with interested organizations to develop additional program materials including objective, transparent audit checklists to verify these programs through routine independent and onsite audits by AMS auditors that industry animal welfare programs meet the requirements of ISO TS 34700.

For further information, contact Jeffrey Waite, Chief, Audit Services Branch, Quality Assessment Division; Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program at

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