A new report reveals that animal welfare is sadly not a priority for some of the world’s largest food and restaurant companies.
The shocking information reveals that farm animal welfare isn’t even on the agenda for some of these well-known and trusted companies, in contrast to other leading household brands which are working hard to improve animal welfare in their supply chains.
TheseventhBusiness Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW),backedbyWorld Animal ProtectionandCompassion in World Farming, is the leading global measure on farm animal welfare. It ranks 150 global food companies on farm animal welfare standards in tiers 1 to 6, with tier 1 being the best, and tier 6 being the worst.
U.S. giant Marsand one of Europe’s biggest supermarket chains E.Leclerc, both rank at the very bottom of the table in tier 6, and show little regard for animal welfare in their businesses. The report found that there is no evidence farm animal welfare is on the business agenda at these companies.
Amazon, the world’s largest company and owner of Whole Foods Market, fared only slightly better and achieved a tier 5 status as did Starbucks,Papa Johns,Subway, Campbell‘s SoupandHershey. For these companies, farm animal welfare is on the business agenda but there is limited evidence of implementation.
The Benchmark shows that there is more work to be done by other household names, which sit towards the bottom of the ranking. Multinational retail giant Walmart, and fast-food giant Burger King, achieved only tier 4 status. German supermarket chain Aldi, and fast food goliath McDonald’s, both rank mid-table in tier 3 and have established policies, but have more work to be done.
British-Dutch giant Unilever, that sells numerous household name brand foods such as Ben and Jerry’s and Hellmann’s, are ranked highly in tier 2 as did French giant Danone– both showed farm animal welfare is integral to their business strategy. Also doing well in tier 2 were British supermarket giants Morrisons and Sainsburys.Whitbread, the UK’s largest operator of hotels and restaurants also ranked in tier 2 along with Greggs, the largest bakery chain in the UK.
British companies dominate the top of the table, in tier 1. Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Cranswick (one of the largest food producers in Britain), Noble Foods (makers of GU Puds) have all taken the lead on farm animal welfare.
Farm Animal Welfare Ranking (limited to selected companies)
Overall, company practice continues to show consistent year to year improvement since the Benchmark launched in 2012:
53% of companies now have explicit board or senior management oversight of farm animal welfare
71% have published formal improvement objectives for farm animal welfare
Of the 55 food companies that have been continuously included in the Benchmark since 2012, 17 (31%) have moved up one tier, 20 (36%) have moved up two tiers, and 8 (15%) have moved up three tiers.
These improvements are striking given the tightening of the Benchmark criteria and the increased emphasis on performance reporting and impact over this time. However, while just over half of companies report on the proportion of animals that are free from close confinement, only one in four companies covered by the Benchmark provides any information on the proportion of animals that are stunned prior to slaughter, and only one in five companies reports on live animal transport times.
Steve McIvor, CEO of World Animal Protection, said in a statement, “If you care about animals, then you really should think twice about handing your money over to some of these retailers and restaurants. Giants like Burger King and Walmart must take animal welfare much more seriously.
“Food producers, supermarkets and restaurant chains can no longer afford to ignore animal welfare as consumers now have more information at their fingertips and are showing that they increasingly care about the welfare of animals when they are deciding where to shop and eat.”