UK businesses sweep the board at animal welfare awards

A clutch of UK businesses have won awards recognising the commitment of international food companies to improving animal welfare. 

Of the 41 awards at Compassion in World Farming’s (CiWF) Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, ten were won by British businesses. The ceremony was hosted by TV chef Allegra McEvedy in Milan on Tuesday.

UK Winners in the farming sector included Dingley Dell Pork, a third generation pig farm, and bacon and gammon producer, which received a Good Pig Award for its outdoor production site; Denhay Farms which also won a Good Pig Award for its higher welfare policies; and Blade Farming, part of the ABP food group, which received a Good Calf Commendation for ensuring that their calf rearing operations are higher welfare.

The Best Retailer Award 2015 was presented to Waitrose for achieving the highest score in CiWF’s confidential supermarket survey. The multiple retailer was applauded for its excellent farm animal welfare policies.

Whole Foods Market UK’s decision to sell only free-range, slower growing chickens, which have access to the outdoors and have more space in their coops, has paid off with the company awarded a Good Chicken Award for their efforts. The company has also committed itself to only selling free-range pork and received a Good Pig Award in recognition of this.

Burger chain McDonald’s picked up a Good Egg Award for its commitment to improving animal welfare in all regions, and switching to the use of free-range eggs. In addition, its egg producers have been required to plant more trees to encourage laying hens’ use of the range.

This year Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group received a Good Dairy Award for its commitment to source all its milk from producers, which comply with the Good Dairy Award criteria, including pasture access and active health plans for dairy cows, as well as bedding, group housing and a good diet for its calves.

Two UK food brands were also presented with trophies. Unilever received a Special Recognition Award for it largest brand, Knorr, which has ambitions to source 100% of its raw agricultural materials sustainably by 2020 as part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire Pudding maker Aunt Bessie’s received a Good Egg Award at this year’s ceremony for its pledge to use only cage-free eggs in all its products.

“Every year I am so impressed by the commitment and drive of our award winners to make genuine improvements to the lives of millions of farm animals,” said Tracey Jones, CiWF director of food business. “However, it also serves to remind me that there is still a huge amount of work to be done before a true market shift towards higher welfare food takes place. I’m confident the higher welfare message is spreading globally as more and more businesses realise that there is not just an ethical imperative to address farm animal welfare but a commercial one too.”

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