Cranswick tops farm animal welfare performance for second year

Cranswick tops farm animal welfare performance for second year

Cranswick has retained its top tier ranking in the sixth annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), launched on 2nd February at the London Stock Exchange, for the second consecutive year.

The company was the only producer to be listed in Tier 1, which was otherwise dominated by the retail sector, with Co-op Group (Switzerland), Marks & Spencer, Migros and Waitrose also maintaining their positions as global leaders on farm animal welfare.

According to BBFAW, Cranswick retained its top ranking, demonstrating a “strong commitment to animal welfare across its own operations and throughout its supply chain in the UK and globally” and had “clear positions on the avoidance of close confinement for laying hens, sows, and beef cattle, the avoidance of routine mutilations, the reduction of antibiotic usage, the avoidance of animals that have been subjected to genetic engineering or cloning, long-distance transport and pre-slaughter stunning”.

In addition, 2 Sisters Food Group moved up a tier from Tier 4 to Tier 3 in this year’s Benchmark, which acknowledges the company’s efforts but underlines the fact there is still more work to be done across the board.

BBFAW stated that: “All of 2 Sisters Food Group’s poultry, beef and pork products are assured to at least Red Tractor standards (minimum industry standard), and it has published targets relating specifically on the maximum journey times for chicken, beef and lamb and on the proportion of broiler chickens in its global supply chain reared at lower stocking densities.

“However, the company still needs to provide more detail and clarity on its animal welfare policies and on how its senior management oversees their implementation.”

Foodservice was the sector that showed most improvement in its overall performance, with an average score which rose from 27% in 2016 to 34% this year, while the retailer & wholesaler and producer & manufacturer sub-sectors saw their respective scores stand at 37% and 38% (versus 36% and 39% respectively in 2016).

Nicky Amos, executive director of BBFAW.

Commenting on the overall findings, Nicky Amos, executive director of BBFAW, noted: “Perhaps the most significant change relative to the 2016 Benchmark is the dramatically improved performance of the restaurants and bars sector.

“Our discussions with companies in the sector suggest that this improvement is being driven by increased client and consumer interest in farm animal welfare, and by NGO, media and investor pressure on these companies to make public commitments on specific animal welfare issues (e.g. on cage-free eggs, on broiler chicken welfare, on reductions in the use of antibiotics).”

A total of 40 producer and manufacturing companies from across Europe, the USA, Asia and Australasia were included in this year’s Benchmark, which is supported by animal welfare organisations Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection and investment firm Coller Capital.

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