Winterbotham Darby wins prestigious Special Recognition Award from Compassion in World Farming

UK-based continental meats supplier, Winterbotham Darby, are extremely proud to have received the Special Recognition Award at the Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards in Paris today (Thursday 21 June, 2018)
calendar icon 22 June 2018
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The award recognises companies that demonstrate outstanding innovation, commitment or achievement in a particular area of farm animal welfare.

Winterbotham Darby has achieved this award from initiatives in three key strategic areas; improving pig welfare, maintaining full traceability of supply chains; educating farmers and consumers through research and communication events.

Winterbotham Darby formed the European Farm Partnership to bring farmers, researchers, producers, processors and NGO’s together to share knowledge, innovation and science which has played an important role in achieving the significant improvements to date.

The company has been working in collaboration with Compassion since 2012 in improving pig welfare in continental Europe. Through the development of the Winterbotham Darby pig scheme and also working closely with Compassion, Winterbotham Darby has been able to take a leadership position in Europe in improving animal welfare standards. The Special Recognition Award recognises welfare improvements made in addressing and overcoming the major issues including confinement, mutilation and barren environments.

Back in April 2018, Winterbotham Darby received UKAS accreditation for the Winterbotham Darby European Farm Partnership (EFP) pig module. It is the only accredited standard of its kind for Europe and covers the entire supply chain; breeding, rearing, finishing, transport and slaughter.

Fundamentally the standard is for higher welfare systems and takes into account health and welfare factors such as free farrowing, increased space and a stimulating environment. The standard covers antibiotic usage and medicine, feed, veterinary procedures, biosecurity and pest control. As a result, those farms audited against the Pig module (in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany) will meet or exceed current UK supermarket or retail requirements.

Winterbotham Darby has started to publicly communicate on pig welfare issues, raising awareness across the UK market. They co-host an annual animal health and welfare day (the only one of its kind in the UK) to bring together farmers, retailers, producers, NGOs, certification bodies and industry specialists. They commissioned a large research project to better understand UK consumer attitudes to higher welfare, with the aim of informing how higher welfare products can be more clearly labelled. In addition, they held a trade media round table with the objective of raising continental welfare issues in the UK. They are also looking to continue funding research in conjunction with academic and industry partners.

David Houghton, technical director for Winterbotham Darby comments:

“We are delighted to win this award and have our efforts recognised. There has never been a more important time for animal welfare within the food industry due to an increasing pressure and demands from the market to the uncertainty posed by Brexit. We need to ensure that animal welfare standards are not diluted and that changes in longer term goals and commitments are not made in response to these pressures and demands.

"When we started this journey, the consensus was that what we wanted to achieve would be improbable or impossible; we are pleased and proud to demonstrate that this was not the case.

"At Winterbotham Darby we recognise the importance of animal welfare and that is why it is a key strategic part of our organisation be it today and in the future.”

Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion said: “Thanks to the outstanding work of Winterbotham Darby and its suppliers, pig welfare is moving up the business agenda and indoor free farrowing is becoming a commercial reality in European speciality cured pig meat.

"Their unique Gold, Silver, Bronze animal welfare certification scheme for their continental meat suppliers has been instrumental in driving welfare improvements and helping to secure cage-free commitments in the pig sector across Europe. Compassion is delighted to recognise the huge investment and commitment by Winterbotham Darby with this year’s Special Recognition Award. It’s truly a well-deserved accolade.”

As reported by Winterbotham Darby

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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