When I first started out in my career, I thought I could fix everything in the industry with engineering and designing a facility. So, I've now learned that I can only fix about half of things.
Why is that?
Well, because the other half is management. And in the last ten years, I've worked really hard on a numerical scoring system because I'd go out to a place and I'd get their handling really nice and then I'd come back a year later and there'd be hotshots and screaming again. What was happening was that people slowly went back to their old, rough ways. This could happen and they wouldn't even realize it was happening. So I've been a big advocate of getting out and measuring handling. How many cattle were bellowing and vocalizing during handling? How many cattle fell down during handling? How many cattle ran into a fence? How many cattle got poked with an electric prodder? And then I can look at the numerical scores and ask, "Am I getting better or am I getting worse?"
Are the managers and their teams willing to do these measurements?
McDonald's Corporation started enforcing the measurement system I developed ten years ago, in 1999, and that resulted in a lot of improvements. Now, unfortunately, there are still some bad videos around on the Internet, bad stuff going on. But a lot of the plants, especially the big plants, cleaned up their act.
So it's a mixed bag.
That's right. When you have a big customer saying "you're going to have to improve" that can work on putting pressure on the industry to improve.
What incentive do other CEOs of large meat packing plants have in adapting humane treatment for their animals?