2003 Results

Animals module commentary

Supermarkets have enormous influence over the animal welfare standards adopted in the production of the meat, milk and eggs they sell. The RTTT initiative supports supermarket best practice on farm animal welfare and consumer choice by tracking performance on key animal welfare indicators and highlighting progress. RTTT selected corporate retail sales proportions of non-cage eggs, extensive chickens, and stall and tether-free pigmeat as its key indicators, as well as company policy on journey times to slaughter.

Battery egg sales can be seen as a flagship animal welfare indicator, especially as European Union legislation is scheduled to ban conventional battery cages by 2012. Unfortunately, all 3 companies surveyed reported a drop from last year in the proportion of their non-cage egg sales.

Most meat (broiler) chickens sold by the major multiples are still reared using intensive farming techniques. The higher welfare alternative accounted for 1-5% of total chicken sales of the companies surveyed.

The vast majority of own label pigmeat sold by the 3 companies surveyed comes from animal-friendly stall and tether-free systems.

On animal transportation, all 3 companies set a maximum journey time for cattle, sheep and pigs travelling for slaughter. Somerfield set an 8 hour maximum, whereas Safeway and Co-op set a 6 hour maximum. In the case of pigs, Co-op went still further by insisting on travel times of no more than 4 hours. In order to monitor performance levels against policy, RTTT asked for average journey times to slaughter as well as policy maximums. All 3 companies reported average journey times well within the permitted maximum.

The company that showed the best overall performance on animal welfare standards for the 2003 dataset is the Co-op.


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