Caring for others has been a lifelong mission for Animal Welfare Specialist John Crampton. After witnessing the 9/11 attacks, he made a pact with two friends to join the U.S. military. Within 24 hours, John was on his way to becoming a medic with the U.S. Coast Guard’s anti-terrorism unit. 

On his return home, Crampton went back to college and graduated with a degree in biology. Six years later, his passion for patient care is centered around poultry at Tyson Foods. 

“I take great pride in the task to educate, train, promote and monitor the welfare of our animals,” Crampton said. “Animal welfare is not simple. The best part of being on this team is how we continue to learn, and Tyson Foods puts great importance on the complexity of animal welfare.”

Crampton’s and Tyson Foods’ commitment to industry-leading welfare practices has pushed him to continuously innovate, resulting in Judge’s Choice award wins at the Tyson Foods Animal Welfare Summit in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Every year, the summit brings together dedicated specialists, animal welfare experts, and executive leaders from across the country to share research projects and best practices and discuss the future of animal welfare.

Crampton’s 2018 and 2019 projects focused on skin and respiratory conditions in turkeys, and both projects have been used as educational tools for promoting proper farm management and the importance of ventilation for animal health. 

Crampton’s 2020 research project focused on improving the turkeys’ comfort at the Storm Lake, Iowa complex during high-temperature weather. The complex’s barn was a traditional curtain sided barn, meaning the curtains would be dropped during warmer months and stir fans would be added to keep the birds cool.

Crampton logged real-time date on three different barn designs – a traditional house, tunnel curtain-sided, and tunnel solid-sided. After examining several aspects of the ventilation and design on all three, it became clear that retro-converting the current natural-ventilation barns to tunnel barns was the best solution. The retro-conversion project is currently underway.

“It is an amazing step forward for bird comfort and performance in our Storm Lake Turkey Operation, and I am very proud of the team and what they are doing for animal welfare,” Crampton said.

In July 2020, John moved to the Springdale, Arkansas complex, where he is now applying his poultry-focused care and affinity for science and data analysis to its chicken operations.

“We are all 100% accountable for the welfare of the animals we raise,” Crampton said. “That starts with leadership. At Tyson Foods, animal welfare is a commitment from the top down.”

Six animal welfare specialists won 2020 CI Project awards: Chris JonesCarina BaltazarAbraham Abate, Mark Hill, John Crampton, and Chris Minor. 

The Judge’s Choice category is evaluated by animal welfare professionals outside of Tyson Foods, and they consider each presentation based on innovation, potential for high impact on animal welfare, impact for other Tyson Foods business units, project design and execution, collaboration, and the presentation itself. The Specialist’s Choice category is scored by fellow peers in the same category.

Find more information on our commitment to sustainability through animal welfare here.