Supermarkets are hugely important to farm animal welfare due to their enormous purchasing power and the number of shoppers they attract. They can effect massive improvements for farm animals simply through their everyday decisions. Our 2010 Supermarket Awards, presented this month, are based on our latest Supermarket Survey, which scored and rated the UK's top supermarkets on their approach to farm animal welfare.
Most Compassionate Supermarket - Waitrose
Waitrose scored the highest overall in our Supermarket Survey. This is the third time that Waitrose has been crowned Most Compassionate Supermarket, previously winning in 2003/4 and 2005/6.
Waitrose is constantly pushing farm animal welfare boundaries. Their management systems, the range and depth of information they record about their farm suppliers and the animals on them is very comprehensive, and they have their own standards (which are above and beyond other third party standards) independently audited.
Some of Waitrose's achievements include:
- All Waitrose own label eggs are either free-range or organic and they have not sold any eggs from caged hens, own-label or branded, since 2001.
- 26 million chickens a year benefit from their high welfare baseline standards
- In November 2008, Waitrose became the first UK retailer to stop importing pork. They are dedicated to selling only British pork, bacon and sausages, which gives them much greater ability to stipulate and monitor welfare standards.
- Waitrose do not sell any intensively or indoor reared pigmeat under their own-label
- Waitrose is the only retailer to give its dairy cows unlimited access to pasture during the grazing season
- Waitrose's farmed fish welfare standards are industry best practice.
Best Volume Supermarket - Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's market position as the third largest UK supermarket chain means that their positive stance on animal welfare makes a tangible difference to the lives of millions of farm animals. Sainsbury's offer the widest range of Freedom Food products of any major UK retailer, and sell 62% of all Freedom Food purchased in the UK.
Sainsbury's record on promoting good welfare for laying hens and chickens is particularly noteworthy. In February 2009 they became the first major retailer to stop selling eggs from caged hens, a year ahead of their own 2010 target. They have also committed to using only cage free eggs as an ingredient by the end of 2011. This year, Sainsbury's received our new Good Chicken Award, alongside its Best Volume Supermarket Award, for committing to source only higher welfare fresh chicken by 2015.
Some of Sainsbury's achievements include:
- Over half of Sainsbury's customers have purchased at least one Freedom Food labelled product since 2009.
- Sainsbury's has a policy to sell no pigmeat from sow stalls.
- Sainsbury's is the only 'big four' supermarket to commit to setting a minimum of 'higher welfare' for all its fresh chicken by 2015
- Sainsbury's is working to improve cattle welfare and sustainability by linking its dairy and beef supply chains.
- All Sainsbury's farmed salmon and trout are killed by humane methods.
Most Improved Supermarket - Morrisons
Morrisons has made the biggest improvement in their welfare standards since taking part in our last survey. Overall, they recorded an 18% higher score, with significant improvements made on Laying Hens (+50%), Pigs (+20%) and Farmed Fish (+129%).
Morrisons' welfare improvements include:
- Morrisons' own brand shell eggs are now all free-range.
- An increased proportion of branded eggs sold are now cage-free
- Morrisons are making increased use of cage-free egg ingredients
- A higher proportion of pig meat supplied to Morrisons now comes from farms where sows are provided with bedding and outdoor access
- The stocking density for salmon sold by Morrisons has been reduced
- Morrisons are the joint highest performing supermarket on duck housing standards.
Click here for more information on Compassion's full range of Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards and how Compassionate shopping is helping to change lives.