Seventeen manufacturers honoured at Compassion’s Annual Awards

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Seventeen manufacturers were honoured by Compassion in World Farming at their Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards where farm animal welfare may have reached a significant tipping point as food businesses from all corners of the globe were recognised at the annual awards ceremony. Held in Berlin on 28 June and hosted by singer/songwriter and animal welfare advocate Blanche Elliz, winners were announced from North and South America, Australasia, China and Europe demonstrating that awareness of farm animal welfare is rising in the public and business consciousness globally.

The Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards celebrate the commitment of leading food businesses to improve animal welfare standards. The higher welfare policies and practices of this year’s 41 main award winners (and SME’s) are set to benefit over 85 million animals each year.

Sixteen manufacturers won either a Good Egg Award, Good Chicken Award, Good Dairy Award, Good Pig Awardor Good Rabbit Award, while a seventeenth received the Best Innovation Award – just one of a whole raft of ‘firsts’, many involving food manufacturers.

Not only did Compassion start to raise awareness of farm animal welfare in South America by presenting Chilean hen farmer, Pablo Albarren fromEcoterra with a Good Egg Award, their first ever Award in the region, but there was also the first Good Egg Award presented for quail egg production, and the first full Good Pig Awards in Italy.

Known for its quality hams and cured meats, Italy may be perceived as a country where pig welfare is high on the agenda, yet there is still widespread routine tail docking, teeth-clipping/grinding and castration without pain relief of meat pigs, reared in over-crowded barren pens; as well as the use of sow stalls (in the observation period) and farrowing crates for sows. The commitment by both Fumagalli (who supply Waitrose) and Primavera to address the needs of sows and meat pigs is a major step forward and saw the first full Good Pig Award winners in Italy.  hat’s why Fumagalli’s planned marketing and communications activities focusing on the need for higher welfare production, highlighting their commitments, promoting their products and encouraging others to follow suit, is so important.

Clarence Court, part of Stonegate, was presented a Good Egg Award for their free-to-fly quail egg production. No legislation or industry standard exists for quail farming in the EU, and Clarence Court has taken the initiative to develop their own indoor barn system to provide a higher welfare alternative to the caged systems commonly used across Europe.

Caged production is also the most common system for rabbits globally.  This year Compassion was proud to award Kani-Swiss (and Coop Switzerland who worked with them) with a full Good Rabbit Award to celebrate their higher welfare indoor system for meat rabbits and, more importantly, their innovative group housing system for does, solving one of the biggest barriers for progress in doe welfare, allowing socialisation, as well as providing space to live and an enriched, stimulating environment.

Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion, said: “The ground breaking investment in higher welfare systems and practices for pigs in Italy, rabbits in Switzerland, and quail in the UK is outstanding, demonstrating that better systems for farm animals can be developed and supported by the market place and that there is no place for cages in humane sustainable farming. To my mind these awards demonstrate that a real step change in attitudes and approach towards farm animal welfare is taking place. Thanks to all our winners, farm animals who are so often caged or crated, can have a life worth living and even a good life, where their needs are met and the value of their lives embraced.”

This year saw Compassion open up their Best Innovation and Best Marketing Awards to manufacturers and food service companies for the first time, looking to recognise some of the leading work happening in these sectors.

The Best Innovation Award 2016 was awarded to manufacturer Plukon Food Group in the Netherlands for their ‘Windstreek Stable’ – a new design of broiler shed incorporating multiple features for improved welfare (including slower growing breeds, more space, a variety of enrichments and natural light) going above and beyond Compassion’s Good Chicken Award criteria. There are strong sustainability elements in the system too that allow them to provide excellent air and litter quality and low CO₂ emissions. The innovative brooders provide a warm, safe resting place for the chickens throughout life, and combined with the use of natural ventilation, means the system uses 80 per cent less energy. Plukon are also promoting this system to the industry and the resultant higher welfare products to consumers – helping to create a market for higher welfare chicken.

Gerda Zijlstra, head of marketing & product development at Plukon Food Group, said: “As a main player in poultry production in Europe we feel responsible for the well-being of animals in our business. Together with our clients and our enthusiastic farmers we are in a position to make a difference and it is great to do so. Winning this prestigious award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work that we have done so far and stimulation to continue with new initiatives.”

Dr Jones again: “Our winners in the manufacturing/producer sector demonstrate, above all other sectors, the importance of designing farming systems to meet the specific behavioural needs of the animals being farmed; pigs like to root, rabbits like to hop, quail like to hide and broilers like to perch.

“We congratulate all our award winners; together, the impact of their policies and practices means that over 85 million animals are set to benefit each year – a phenomenal number but, as we have seen, the tip of the iceberg.  There is still much to be done to spread the animal welfare message and ensure more and more businesses globally realise there is not just an ethical imperative to address farm animal welfare but a commercial one too.”