08/09/2020 – Sustainability Series / Farming / Animal Welfare / Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards / Global
Putting welfare first: The Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards
Hosted by Compassion in World Farming, the prestigious annual Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards recognises an array of companies from across the world that have demonstrated their commitment to higher welfare production and sourcing. Food & Beverage Networker takes a look at the 2020 winners.
It all started with the Good Egg Award in 2007, celebrating companies that source only cage-free eggs. Since then, welfare charity Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) has expanded its awards programme to include the Good Chicken Award, the Good Dairy Award, the Good Pig Award, the Good Rabbit Award, and the Good Turkey Award.
This year, a total of 34 awards were given out to businesses across the UK, EU, China and the US, in recognition of higher welfare standards impacting the lives of 28 million animals each year. This takes the overall impact of Compassion’s Food Business programme to date, through awards, partnership projects and corporate pledges, to over two billion animals set to benefit annually.
“Despite these challenging times, it has been truly heartening to see companies move forwards with their commitments to animal welfare,” said Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in Farming. “Although many businesses have been closed, and for some these are incredibly uncertain times, it is encouraging to see that farm animal welfare is still central to business plans for our future food.”
Manufacturers, food service and retail recognised
This year there were 12 Good Egg Awards, three Good Chicken Awards, one Good Turkey Award, four Good Calf Awards, five Good Dairy Commendations, one Good Sow Commendation, one Good Rabbit Commendation, six Good Pig Production Awards in China and one Cage Free Award presented to Co-op UK.
In terms of sector breakdown, there were 20 producers or manufacturers (including the six Chinese Good Pig Production Award winners) recognised for their work, alongside five food service companies and nine retailers.
Noble Foods bags ‘Good Egg Award’
Noble Foods, the UK’s biggest egg producer, was awarded a Good Egg Award for its commitment to be 100-per-cent cage free by 2025. Working collaboratively with the British Egg Industry Council, Compassion and Tesco, Noble Foods helped develop a new higher welfare barn standard for UK egg production, which was introduced in November 2019.
In the past year, the team at Noble Foods has worked hard, alongside their equipment manufacturer, Vencomatic, to convert one of their large enriched colony caged units to the new higher welfare aviary barn system, coupled with an identical pullet-rearing unit.
COOK bestowed with two awards
COOK – the manufacturer of luxury frozen ready meals – has this year been awarded two new accolades: the Good Turkey Award (up to 10,000 turkeys are estimated to benefit from this award per annum) and a Good Dairy Commendation. These latest awards add to a bulging trophy cabinet for the firm that already boasts a Good Egg Award (2011), Good Pig Award (2016) and Good Chicken Award (2017).
COOK said that it continually looked for ways to improve the welfare of farm animals involved in its supply chain, and actively promotes their welfare credentials, not just for the benefit of the animals, but because they see the positive impact of their awards convert into additional sales. Indeed, COOK provides an excellent example of a luxury high street ready meal range bucking the trend to show that higher welfare can equal commercial success.
Mondelez awarded Good Dairy Commendation
Mondelez International received a Good Dairy Commendation in 2013 for its iconic Philadelphia brand, for improving dairy cow welfare across five European countries. This year, the firm has been awarded another Good Dairy Commendation for having expanded this higher welfare policy across a further 15 countries, increasing the number of dairy cows benefiting from its work by a further 66 per cent. This achievement was pursued in partnership with the food processing giant’s supplier and by collaborating with the German Dairy Standard, QM-Milk.
After its 2013 Award, Philadelphia embarked on an all-encompassing marketing campaign to promote the higher welfare credentials of its famous cheese, demonstrating the value of higher welfare in enhancing the brand’s drive for consumer loyalty.
AJ & RG Barber Ltd recognised for good dairy operations
Another recipient of a Good Dairy Commendation was award winning family cheese and butter making business, AJ & RG Barber Ltd.
Using milk from its own farms and from an additional 140 dedicated and trusted dairy farms in Somerset and Dorset, the company creates top quality cheese using milk from cows that have access to lush pasture for an average of 200 days a year. This award underlines the fact that smaller-scale, traditional dairy farming can produce higher welfare cheese.
Norwegian firms championed for poultry collaboration
Norwegian poultry producer Norsk Kyllig and Norwegian discount retailer REMA 1000 Norge AS have worked collaboratively to successfully implement the higher welfare requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment. By developing a fully integrated value chain and actively marketing their slower growing ‘Hubbard’ chicken to their customers, they have created a thriving market for their higher welfare chicken – making it work economically for both businesses and consumers alike. And this has resulted in REMA increasing its market share in terms of chicken sales in Norway.
This collaboration sets an inspiring example to other businesses, demonstrating how all parties can benefit if they work together to find supply chain solutions for higher welfare products. For this work, both REMA 1000 and Norsk Kyllig received a Good Chicken Award.
High welfare systems at Warrendale Wagyu
Yorkshire based Warrendale Wagyu has introduced specialised Wagyu genetics in around 80 dairy farms to produce a high value Wagyu cross which it rears in higher welfare systems through specialist calf rearers.
As the company owns the calves and has excellent links with the dairy farms, it is able to ensure all the calves reared for their Wagyu Beef are given adequate colostrum, have short transport times, and are moving to paired housing. In recognition of this work, the firm received a Good Calf Award.
Six Chinese firms snaffle Good Pig Production Award
In 2020, six producers in China received a Good Pig Production Award. Compassion’s award programme in China began in 2014, working with the International Co-operation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW) and continues to make an impact on a country that consumes and produces half the world’s pig meat.
The Good Pig Production Awards reflect the efforts made in the breeding, housing, rearing and health management of the animals, and are based on criteria that equate to stars, with five stars being the highest number achievable. This year, there was one four-star winner, two winners earned three stars, and a further three winners were awarded two-star commendations.
This year’s highest achiever was Sun Zhao Demonstration Farm, part of Henan Nongduo Agro-Pastoral Ecological Technology Co. Ltd, which earned four stars. This farm, established in 2017, raises 1,000 sows and ensures the welfare for nearly 20,000 finishers every year. The farm uses fermented bedding (except for the lactation period), group housing of dry sows (including the observation period), does not tail dock or teeth clip, and is committed to providing manipulable material throughout life – a key factor in providing effective environmental enrichment for pigs.
Building a resilient, sustainable food system
“It’s fantastic to see that there is still an appetite to improve the welfare of farm animals amongst key food industry players, despite the difficulties COVID-19 has thrown at them, and I wholeheartedly congratulate them all,” enthused Compassion’s Food Business Director Dr Jones in closing.
“Farm animal welfare is not just for the good times or the niche products – every animal reared for food deserves a good quality of life. As we emerge from this pandemic, there is much to learn, none more so than how we balance the relationship between the food we eat, its impact on the environment, natural resources and rich biodiversity of our fragile planet, and the health and livelihoods of its people. Never in our history has it been so urgent to build a more resilient sustainable food system with animal welfare at its heart. Our corporate partners are on that journey and we will continue to work with them to drive this much needed change.”
The 2020 winners
A full list of 2020 winners is as follows:
Good Egg Award
• Aldi UK (Retailer, UK)
• CH&CO (Food Service, UK)
• Coraya (Manufacturer/Producer, France)
• Fattoria Roberti (Manufacturer/Producer, Italy)
• Flunch (Food Service, France)
• Fresystem Spa (Manufacturer/Producer, Italy)
• Hippopotamus (Food Service, France)
• Lidl UK (Retailer, UK)
• Marr (Food Service, Italy)
• Noble Foods (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
• Système U (Retailer, France)
• Taco Bell (Food Service, US)
Good Chicken Award
• Franprix (Retailer, France)
• Norsk Kyllig (Manufacturer/Producer, Norway)
• REMA 1000 Norge AS (Retailer, Norway)
Good Turkey Award
• COOK (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
Good Calf Award
• Drevon Veaux (Manufacturer/Producer, France)
• Morrisons (Retailer, UK)
• Schiever (Retailer, France)
• Warrendale Wagyu (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
Good Dairy Commendation
• AJ & RG Barbers Ltd (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
• Casearia Sant’Anna (Manufacturer/Producer, Italy)
• COOK (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
• Pensworth (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
• Philadelphia (Manufacturer/Producer, Germany, Sweden, Austria, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Malta, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Iceland, Romania, Ukraine, Hungary)
Good Sow Commendation
• Bastides Selection (Manufacturer/Producer, UK)
Good Rabbit Commendation
• Carrefour (Retailer, France)
Cage Free Award
• Co-op UK (Retailer, UK)
The following Chinese Awards have been awarded according to criteria that equate to stars (five stars being the highest achievement).
Good Pig Production Award
1. Sunzhao Demonstration farm (Henan Nongduoduo Agro-pastoral Ecological Technology Co. Ltd) 4*
2. Heilongjiang Jingzhe Forest Food Group Co. Ltd. 3*
3. JiNing DongSan Indigenous DaPulian Pig Breed Farm 3*
4. No. 24 Houma Farm (Muyuan Foods Co. Ltd) 2*
5. Huaiji Guangdong Wens FoodStuff Group Co. Ltd. FengKai ChangAn Pig Farm (Wens FoodStuff Group Co. Ltd) 2*
6. Sifanghong (Yuxian) (Agro-pastoral Development Co. Ltd) 2*
For further information on Compassion in World Farming’s activities, visit: www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com