In the shadow of the Champs-Élysées in Paris, representatives from the corporate world from across Europe gathered in Paris to celebrate companies that have made strong commitments to improving farm animal welfare. It was the seventh year of Compassion’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards programme, and the tip-of-the-iceberg culmination of our team’s work in persuading companies to do things like going cage-free on all their eggs, or moving away from bog-standard factory farmed chicken.
This year was special in being a truly international affair, not least in having our first award-winning business from Poland – SPA Food – committing to use only higher welfare chicken; the Dutch airline, KLM, deciding to make the trail-blazing step in taking higher welfare chicken to the skies, and strong innovation from German retailer, Kaufland, in developing welfare-friendly rabbit keeping, instead of the ubiquitous barren cage system. The event was hosted by food journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Food Programme’, Sheila Dillon.
I was so pleased to see the work that my team is doing to encourage and inspire major retailers, food manufacturers and restaurant chains across Europe to make sweeping changes to improve the lives of animals. Leading award-winning supermarkets this year were Kaufland (Best Retailer Innovation Award), Sainsbury’s (Best welfare-friendly Retailer Marketing Award), whilst the pinnacle award for Best Retailer on animal welfare went to M&S.
I was so proud to be with my team and see the results of the ground-breaking they are doing with leading brands and innovators in the food industry. It was so heartening to hear speaker after speaker talk about how welfare-friendly equates to better food quality. It was hugely encouraging to see the commitment from companies to embrace animal welfare and make it part of their business. I was delighted to shake the hands of representatives from so many companies that have made a real difference to the lives of animals.
When we add up the number of animals benefitting from better lives thanks to policy changes made by the companies we’ve worked with and awarded over the years, it comes to a staggering 337 million animals. That’s a great deal of change. Thank you and congratulations to all our corporate award winners; and to you for helping to make this happen.