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This is how Athena Foods promotes animal welfare in the meat production chain

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Only if all the members of the production chain contribute with the fulfillment of the responsibility regarding animal welfare, can a real transformation of the sector be achieved. In this way, the stability and the future of the herd, the farmers, and the other players in this industry are protected. 

The welfare conditions of an animal are generated from the respect and care with which it is maintained from its birth to its death or sacrifice. 

The OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) establishes five basic principles to guarantee animal welfare: 1. Be free from thirst, hunger and malnutrition. 2. Be free from fear and anguish. 3. Be free from physical and thermal discomfort. 4. Be free from pain, injury or illness. 5. Be free to manifest a natural behavior typical of its species. 

Athena Foods, a Minerva Foods company, assumes its responsibility as a leader in the export of beef from South America to the world and understands animal welfare as a fundamental aspect. 

Since its arrival in Colombia in 2015, leveraged by his good practices in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, added to those of Minerva Foods in Brazil and aware of the great potential of the Colombian cattle herd, it has been working with the different players of the production chain in developing awareness of the importance of animal welfare as the best investment in competitiveness and profitability. 

 Animal welfare: awareness, profitability and competitiveness for the sector 

The effort and daily dedication that this implies for farmers, transporters and cold stores has been essential to ensure that the Colombian meat sector consolidates itself more and more internationally through its finished product, premium quality beef highly valued and desired in world markets. 

To make this possible, Athena Foods works under the highest quality standards, guaranteeing the animal welfare of the cattle that arrive at its plants in Ciénaga de Oro, Córdoba and Bucaramanga, Santander, which have a slaughter capacity of more than 1,550 head of cattle per day. 

In them, it has implemented programs that allow evaluating welfare parameters during the reception of the animals, while they are in pens, along the routes and at the time of slaughter. 

Likewise, its direct and indirect employees are trained with the best animal welfare practices, generating awareness of the benefit it represents for the animals and, in turn, for the producers and the company to respond to and comply with the requirements in a responsible manner with animal welfare. Last year more than 396 employees and 266 farmers and transporters received training in this regard. 

It is clear that this is a shared responsibility that is not only the responsibility of the cold stores. Farmers and transporters are a fundamental part of the process and it is thanks to them that the highest quality meat is obtained like the one that the company is managing to bring to the world. Their work, regarding animal welfare for the production of livestock of the best quality, demands precise control mechanisms of animal welfare and suitable infrastructure to guarantee the characteristics of the finished product. 

In addition to the effort that for years is made in the outdoor grasslands with adequate food and a healthy environment for cattle, precautions must be taken in vaccination. Sometimes, due to technical errors in the application, bruises or traumas are generated that are later reflected in the meat, the same happens with transport, because when it is not suitable it can affect the welfare of the animals in many ways. 

That is why, taking into account the important and complex challenge that animal welfare represents for the entire sector and, taking into account its great benefits, Athena Foods extends its efforts beyond the organizational level also developing educational and awareness-raising activities for its suppliers and intermediaries in the production chain who have always shown great interest in knowing better procedures and practical techniques to guarantee the welfare of livestock. 

The responsibility does not end here, the government and its corresponding authorities such as Invima and ICA also play a very important role. Regulation in primary production, as well as in the slaughter stage, guarantees a more efficient compliance with the standards designed for animal welfare. 

Athena Foods believes that only if all the members of the production chain contribute with the fulfillment of the responsibility regarding animal welfare, can a real transformation of the sector be achieved. In this way, the stability and the future of the herd, the farmers, and the other players in this industry are protected. 

Only in this way will it be possible to continue advancing in the sustainable conquest of the international markets that are opening thanks to the health diplomacy strategy of the government and its entities.

Fuente: Contexto Ganadero