“WE’RE SO BIG THAT THE INDUSTRY CAN’T CHANGE IF WE DON’T LEAD – TYSON CEO

by | August 17, 2018

Tyson CEO Tom Hayes spoke about the companies plans to move into a more sustainable and compassionate food market in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “If we can grow meat without an animal,” Hayes said, “why wouldn’t we?”

When Haynes took over as the CEO for Tyson Foods, he immediately took on the torch of “sustainable proteins” and “cleaner foods” with bold statements of  “I took this job to help revolutionize the global food system” and pledged “to raise the world’s expectations for the good we can do through food.”

And if your suspicion radar is on high alert, it is for good reason – the words ring hollow from a company who produces the same tens of millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year that the entire country of Ireland does.

tyson
Tyson’s main technology office in downtown Springdale.
PHOTOGRAPHER: CHRISTOPHER GREGORY FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

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“To call it a sustainable or do-gooder company would be absurd,” 

 Matthew Prescott, senior director of food and agriculture for the Humane Society of the U.S

But Hayes does appear to be making changes. In the initial period of his position, he has replaced six out of ten of the companies directors, while creating two new positions, chief technology officer, and chief sustainability officer.

While rolling out impression goals for the company, such as cutting greenhouse gasses by thirty percent internally and across production, and improving the employees welfare. 

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He also set his sights on a new and opposite market to Tyson’s core base – that of plant-based proteins, becoming a seed investor in Future Meat Technologies Ltd., while also having a heavy involvement in Memphis Meats Inc., a company in San Francisco developing lab-grown beef, poultry, and fish that’s also funded by Bill Gates.

Animal Welfare Still An Issue 

The Humane Society still questions their dedication to the welfare of animals, with Prescott telling Bloomberg Business “I’ve seen very little real progress at the company when it comes to changing its animal welfare policies or even basic measures to avoid the worst abuses that the animals in their supply chain suffer,”

They also still haven’t put a policy into place to stop using ‘gestation crates’ for pigs. A cruel and mentally abusive crate that keeps the mother unable to move, turn over or tend to her young.

A Plant Based Future?

If Tyson’s plans to move entirely into clean based foods remains to be seen. Hayes says he “can’t imagine a world where there aren’t animals raised and used for human consumption—in my lifetime, anyway.”

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Emma Williams

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via emma@raisevegan.com

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