Meat processors show leadership in animal welfare

Tail docking - the removal of a pig's tail - is a area of welfare contention

Poultry firms Noble Foods and Cranswick, both UK-based, top the global Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW).

Noble Foods and Cranswick led the meat sector globally on managing and reporting animal welfare policies, according to the BBFAW report published today (23 January).

Cranswick, which manufactures a range of meat dishes, including prepared poultry and pork products, climbed one place to tier one, the highest ranking denoting leadership in animal welfare. US-based meat processor Cargill climbed two tiers, with Brazil’s BRF and Danish Crown both rising up the animal welfare ranks in the annual report.

We have witnessed some monumental market shifts for animal welfare since the last BBFAW report,” said Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) CEO, Philip Lymbery.

Stakeholders and investors are pushing this progress forward, reflecting the wishes of the vast majority of consumers today. It is increasingly clear that this is an issue which cannot be ignored by companies and we congratulate those that are moving up the ranking and driving progress in animal welfare across the food industry.

‘Increased’ welfare focus

The BBFAW report examined how 99 of the world’s leading food companies manage and report their farm animal welfare standards and targets. It is produced in collaboration with CiWF and World Animal Protection.

Investment firm Coller Capital also helps and said businesses have paid “increased attention” to animal welfare this year.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of surveyed companies have published animal welfare priorities, compared with 46% in 2012.

‘Important issue’

BBFAW executive director Nicky Amos said 26 companies have moved up at least one tier compared with 2015. This demonstrates a “clear indication that the food industry is finally starting to treat farm animal welfare as an important business issue”.

In total 12 new companies including Chick-fil-A, US; Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand; Hormel Foods Corporation, US; and Les Mousquetaires, France have been included in the report. However, over 42% of the companies still hang in the bottom tiers of the welfare report.
 
Restaurant Brands International, Dominos’s Pizza Group and Starbucks all appear in tiers five and six. Amos said this shows there is “work to be done” to get animal welfare on the global food business agenda.
 
Brazilian meat processor Marfrig was the only the company to fall by two tiers. This may be linked to a reduction in public information on welfare, a regular issue that can arise after a major merger, accusation or sale, the BBFAW report notes. In the past 18 months, Marfig sold Moy Park to JBS and offloaded a raft of Argentinian assets to Black Bamboo Enterprises of China.

Domino's reacts to poor rank

The welfare of animals which provide meat for Domino’s is important to us and all our suppliers comply with the relevant EC welfare standards,” Katie Walker-Arnott spokesperson for Domino’s Pizza Group told this site. She added Domino’s is developing an animal welfare policy to cover transportation and antibiotic use. “We continue to take steps to improve standards, as well as ensure compliance, and are committed to providing more information going forward, so all our stakeholders are aware of the measures we are taking in this important area,” she added.

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Comments (3)

Chris - 09 Mar 2017 | 11:13

Welfare

Ann - the "Industry" would need a total change of mindset - not $$$ throughout the lifespan of an animal - but an honorable animal welfare program from birth to death. Unfortunately, no-one in the meat trade, by their own "care-less" nature, is capable of properly addressing animal welfare.

09-Mar-2017 at 23:13 GMT

Ann - 24 Jan 2017 | 04:01

Define Welfare

Chris, how much detail and how far would the industry need to go before you were satisfied? At what point will the outcries of the Animal Rights sector say "ok, that's good"?

24-Jan-2017 at 16:01 GMT
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