USDA Develops Program to Assess Animal Welfare Standards and Programs

December 27, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed a program under which it will offer assessments of independent 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 TS 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 TS 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.  AMS invites organizations interested in this service to review the procedure, “USDA ISO TS 34700 Animal Welfare Assessment."  AMS will work with interested organizations to develop additional program materials including objective, transparent audit checklists.  Programs will be verified through routine independent and onsite audits by AMS to ensure they meet the requirements of ISO TS 34700.  

Additional information can be found on the AMS website at and at the following links:

Please contact Jeffrey Waite, Chief, Audit Services Branch, Quality Assessment Division; Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by email at or by phone at (202) 720-4411 with comments or questions.

Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program