The National Chicken Council, partnering with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, has initiated a process through The Center for Food Integrity that will provide a balanced analysis of potential undercover video investigations. The Animal Care Review Panel engages recognized animal welfare professionals to examine video and provide expert perspectives for food retailers, the chicken industry and the media.

Hidden camera investigations have heightened public attention on animal care issues. The Animal Care Review Panel provides a mechanism the chicken industry can rely on to objectively evaluate video investigations. It will test the veracity of the investigations and show the public that the chicken industry is committed to continuous improvement, including determining appropriate corrective action when necessary. It will also provide retailers accurate, independent and balanced information to support informed decisions.

Each panel will include a veterinarian, an ethicist and an animal scientist to assure animal care, veterinary medicine and ethics are considered in the evaluation. A pool of experts has been recruited so the process can move quickly when a video investigation goes public.

The broiler panel consists of:

Animal Science:

  •  Yvonne Thaxton, University of Arkansas
  • Patricia Hester, Purdue University
  • Bruce Webster, University of Georgia
  • Michael Hulet, Penn State University


  • Chuck Hofacre, University of Georgia
  • David Pyle, veterinary consultant
  • Sarge Bilgili, Auburn University


  • Ruth Newberry, Washington State University
  • Ray Anthony, University of Alaska
  • Candace Croney, Purdue University

The Center for Food Integrity facilitates the panel with a goal of completing the process within 48 hours. When NCC and/or USPOULTRY confirm that an undercover investigation has occurred, CFI is notified and begins to assemble the Animal Care Review Panel.

  • Potential panel experts are contacted to determine timely availability.
  • The group that obtained the video is asked to provide unedited footage so the panel can analyze the situation in better context. If the group declines, the panel examines the edited video clips that are released to the public.
  • A news release is issued by CFI alerting the industry and media that a review is underway. (Retailers and other stakeholders can inform their constituents that they will consider the findings of the panel in any discussion or decisions related to the undercover video.)

The experts are provided links allowing them to review the video online.

  • Each panelist formulates an evaluation based on their area of expertise.
  • The panel is brought together on a conference call to discuss their findings.
  • The experts are not asked to come to an agreement on their findings. There can be dissenting opinions.
  • CFI facilitates the call and documents the experts’ opinions.

CFI then works to complete the process as quickly as possible.

  • The experts’ individual insights into what is seen in the video are synthesized into a report.
  • A draft of the report is circulated to the experts for their review and approval.
  • CFI issues the report to the chicken industry, retailers and the media.
  • The approved report is provided to NCC/USPOULTRY to share with the farm or plant targeted by the video investigation. CFI’s overall goal is to issue a final report within 48 hours of receiving the undercover video footage.  Achieving that goal depends on the availability of the experts.

The Animal Care Review Panel operates independently from chicken industry influence to assure maximum credibility. CFI’s role is strictly to facilitate the process, not influence the opinions of the panelists. The reviews, assessments, recommendations and reports of the panel are not subject to industry approval before being shared with the public.