Following my showcasing last month of Compassion’s ground-breaking work with food companies, I’m delighted to bring you news of the recipients of our 2015 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.
I was privileged to open last week’s awards ceremony held, with the kind support of the European Commission, as part of the Milan Expo 2015. The Expo’s theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” fits well with Compassion’s mission of placing farm animal welfare at the heart of the food industry so that farm animals enjoy a better quality of life.
I’m immensely grateful to chef, writer and broadcaster Allegra McEvedy MBE, for hosting the event and presenting the awards, and to Andrea Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit of the European Commission, for joining us as guest speaker on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
In all, Allegra presented 41 awards in seven categories that are set to benefit almost 15 million farm animals each year as a result of the higher welfare policies of the winners. The winners included globally known brands including Knorr, Ferrero, McDonald’s, Pret A Manger and the Jamie Oliver Group.
First-ever Good Rabbit Awards
Rabbits took centre stage at the event with the newly launched Good Rabbit Award, conceived with the aim of freeing rabbits from appalling factory farm cages.
Five companies were recognised for improving welfare standards for rabbits. Kaufland and Real (Germany), Colruyt (Belgium), and Terrena (France) received Good Rabbit Commendations for committing to move the rabbits in their supply chains from barren cages into open pen systems. BreFood (Germany) is to be congratulated for going even further; the company received a full Good Rabbit Award for also committing to address the welfare needs of breeding does.
The biennial Retailer Awards category celebrates European retailers leading the way in farm animal welfare. It was inspiring to see Coop Switzerland receiving the Best Retailer Innovation Award for tackling one of the most difficult issues in the laying hen industry. The company has introduced a ‘dual purpose’ breed of chicken, permitting female birds to be kept to produce eggs and male birds to be reared for meat, instead of being killed as chicks.
I was very pleased to applaud the Waitrose team, as the company was once again presented with the Best Retailer Award. Waitrose is a true leader for animal welfare with its aspiration to be the best and to do what is right for animals and for its customers.
Special Recognition Award 2015
A Special Recognition Award was presented to Knorr, Unilever’s largest brand, which has made ambitious commitments to source 100% of its raw agricultural materials sustainably by 2020, as part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.
Another exciting first for Compassion was the presentation of awards to US retailer and food service companies. Whole Foods Market received a Good Egg Award and a Good Sow Commendation and Pret A Manger became the first restaurant chain in the US to receive a Good Egg Award.
China Delegation at Awards Ceremony
I was thrilled by the presence of a delegation from China comprising representatives of the 2014 Chinese Good Pig Production Award winners. Ms Xi Chunling, Executive President for ICCAW, gave an update on farm animal welfare progress and work with Compassion on a Good Sheep Production Award.
Genuine improvements for farm animals
There is still a lot to achieve for the billions of farm animals around the world but as the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare and the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards demonstrate, more and more businesses are prioritising farm animal welfare for commercial as well as ethical reasons.
I’d like to congratulate once again all the 2015 winners of the Good Farm Animal Awards for making genuine improvements for farm animal welfare.