Industry leaders rewarded for higher welfare of pigs

At the 2019 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards ceremony, market-leading food businesses were celebrated for their higher welfare policies and practices, which are set to benefit the lives of over 39 million animals each year.

27 June 2019, at 2:00pm

Farm animal welfare is gaining huge momentum across the global food industry, as highlighted at Compassion in World Farming’s latest Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards ceremony in Brussels on 27 June.

The Awards hosted this year by vet, TV presenter and author, Emma Milne, celebrate companies that are committed to improving the lives of farm animals. Emma commented: “I’m hugely honoured to have been asked to host this year’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. All the time we use animals for food, it’s essential that we keep striving to improve their welfare, not just in life but in death too. The Awards recognise those who embrace this.”

This year there was a total of 50 awards celebrating market-leading food businesses for their higher welfare policies and practices, which are set to benefit the lives of over 39 million animals each year.

The second biggest retailer in Sweden with 650 stores, Coop Sweden, was the only retailer to receive a Good Sow Commendation in recognition of the high welfare standards in their pork supply chain in which all sows are reared in groups throughout life, with straw bedding and enrichment, and farrowing crates are never used.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (USA) also received a Good Sow Commendation for their conviction to ensure that sows are never confined to gestation crates or farrowing stalls.

Yael Cypers, Animal Welfare Manager, Chipotle Mexican Grill said: “We are dedicated to serving food with integrity and ensuring our real ingredients are responsibly sourced. Our pork is raised outdoors or in deeply bedded open barns, and our sows are never in cages or crates. We have been serving humanely raised meat in all of our restaurants (2,500) for more than 20 years and are dedicated to maintaining high animal welfare standards. We look forward to continuing to work with Compassion in World Farming and our supply partners to drive further progress in our collective efforts to Cultivate a Better World.”

Compassion’s Awards programme in China has continued to flourish, working with the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW), to recognise the higher welfare achievements of Chinese pig and poultry producers. The Chinese producer awards are based on criteria that equate to stars with five being the highest accolade. This year there were eight Good Pig Production Award winners (with two five star winners) who have made significant commitments to improving the welfare of pigs.

2019 saw the return of the biennial Retailer Awards which stem from Compassion’s Supermarket Survey results and feature the Best Retailer Innovation and Marketing Awards, which are selected by an expert panel.

This year, Waitrose & Partners was awarded both the Best Retailer Award, beating competition from 27 other retailers from the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Scandinavia, and Best Retailer Marketing Award for the second time for their consistent and high level consumer-facing communications on farm animal welfare, with their recent ‘Waitrose & Partners’ re-brand campaign.

Duncan Sinclair, Agriculture Manager at Waitrose & Partners, commented: “It’s a huge honour to receive these awards, and to win the Best Retailer once again is a particularly proud accomplishment. It takes a lot of passion, dedication and hard work to maintain the high standards we have become famous for over the past 30 years, and we owe a considerable amount to the longstanding relationships we have with our farmers for building that reputation. Without their loyalty and commitment, our pursuit and retention of such pioneering animal welfare standards would not be possible and we share these accolades with them.”

The Best Retailer Innovation Award was presented to leading French retailer, Casino Group, who partnered with three animal welfare NGOs, including Compassion, to launch the very first animal welfare labelling scheme in France, in December 2018.

Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion’s Director of Food Business, reflects on the success of the awards: “While change is being driven by a myriad of stakeholders concerned about the welfare of farm animals and the need to look after our planet, it is the food industry that makes this change a reality.

Addressing the major welfare issues in pig production is challenging at the best of times. It’s particularly encouraging therefore to be able to award eight winners from China this year, and to have a previous winner, Fumagalli speak at our awards on their progress towards free farrowing and higher welfare pig production. We hope that by sharing experiences, more producers will gain the confidence needed to invest and trial new systems.

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Our awards are a great way to recognise and congratulate those that are doing their part to better the lives of farm animals and we were pleased to be able to recognise Coop Sweden and Chipotle for their commitments. We hope that others will follow in their footsteps to help drive change, for the sake of the millions of pigs reared for food each year.”