Co-op results - Animals

Indicator 6.1 View criteria

Issue: Corporate commitment to farm animal welfare standards

Indicator: Board-level responsibility for and policy on farm animal welfare standards, and promotion

Best in class

Co-op has both a named board member responsible for animal welfare and a written corporate farm animal welfare policy. Co-op is to be congratulated on its effort in promoting non-cage eggs, the sale of which is seen as a key indicator of performance on animal welfare. It is disappointing therefore to see that the proportion of sales of non-cage eggs have declined since 2002 to 41%. However, Co-op is to be congratulated again on its commitment to a target date of 2007 by which it intends to cease selling both own label and branded battery eggs.

Indicator 6.2 View criteria

Issue: The welfare of breeding pigs - pregnant sows

Indicator: Sales of pigmeat from progeny of breeding sows kept in stall or tether systems

In 2001, Co-op was one of only 3 top-10 companies to still be selling stall and tether-produced pigmeat (10% of bacon & ham) under its own label. Own label sales proportions of stall and tether produced pigmeat in the 2003 dataset are reported to be 1.85% of ham. Co-op continues to sell high levels of stall & tether-produced bacon, ham & processed pigmeat under brand labels. Stalls and tethers for pregnant pigs have been prohibited for use in the UK on welfare grounds.


Indicator 6.3 View criteria

Issue: The welfare of laying hens and broiler (meat) chickens

Indicator: Sales of shell eggs by production system

Co-op is committed to cease selling cage produced eggs by 2007. It is a matter of concern, therefore, that the sales proportion of non-cage eggs has fallen since 2002. All Co-op non-cage eggs are free range, a system with high welfare potential. However, the price step from battery to free range may be inhibiting overall sales of non-cage eggs.

Indicator: Sales of fresh and frozen chicken by production system

The sales proportion of low welfare intensively produced chicken has dropped slightly since 2002. This is a welcome development, as too is the increase in promotional effort in selling free range and organic broiler chickens.


Indicator 6.4 View criteria

Issue: Transport of farm animals

Indicator: Policy on transport of farm animals

Co-op is to be congratulated on reducing the maximum journey limit from 8 hours to 6 hours for cattle and sheep travelling to slaughter. The maximum journey time of 4 hours for slaughter pigs sets a high standard.   Across all red meat species, average journey times remain about 2 hours below the maximum permitted by company policy.

Overall commentary and examples of good practice

Co-op continues to perform well on animal welfare.

Recommendations and areas for improvement


Supermarket comments

“Working with suppliers, we have been able to improve welfare standards in a number of cases, reducing journey times being an excellent example. We have also adopted an independent review process to track welfare standards in pig farming back to sources in the UK and continental Europe, helping to provide confidence that standards are being met. Naturally the policies of branded suppliers are difficult to influence, but we would encourage improved welfare standards by all. Having been the first supermarket to establish labelling that clearly indicates the origin of caged hen eggs for consumers, we continue to promote free-range alternatives within our mainstream range. This and our support for schemes such as the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods standards are growing, recognising consumer concerns for animal welfare, and building upon our existing policies that already support welfare such as avoiding antibiotic growth promoters and our aims to avoid GM in the diet of livestock.”


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