Waitrose is top retailer at Compassion’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards

2016 was a remarkable year for the welfare of laying hens as many of the world’s most influential food companies made a wave of cage free commitments which spread from the US, to Europe and the UK, crossing all sectors and laying the foundations for the end of the cage age.

This movement was reflected in Compassion’s 2017 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, which took place on Wednesday 28 June in London, hosted by environmental journalist and broadcaster, Lucy Siegle as the charity marked the tenth anniversary since the first Good Egg Award was presented in 2007. Since then over 1,000 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards have been presented to companies from across the globe.

Siegle said: “I am honoured to have hosted the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. This is not only the 10th year since the awards began but the 50th anniversary year of Compassion itself. Through the efforts of Compassion working with award winners, major strides are being made in improving the lives of millions of farm animals and in positively changing the attitudes of the global food industry towards farm animal welfare.”

This year there was a total of 95 awards celebrating the commitment of leading food businesses to higher welfare policies and practices; this includes 67 awards celebrated at the ceremony and 28 awards which have been presented to SME’s and public sector companies throughout 2017.

The awards comprise the Good Egg Awards, Good Chicken Awards, Good Dairy Awards, Good Pig Awards and Good Rabbit Awards, and the 5 star Good Producer Awards for higher welfare egg, chicken and pig production in China.

This year also saw the return of the Retailer Awards which recognise supermarkets that are leading the way in farm animal welfare innovation, marketing and performance, and the introduction of the Cage Free Award which celebrates companies that have made the momentous commitment to eliminate ALL cages from their business.

The 2017 award winners alone are calculated to positively impact the lives of nearly 100 million animals each year. Together with previous awards winners, other partnership projects and more recently the groundswell of corporate pledges, more than 1 billion farm animals are set to benefit every year. https://www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/our-work/our-impact/

The 2017 Awards had a global reach with companies from China, the United States, Australia and Europe accepting accolades. The policies of 15 UK companies were acknowledged including Abel & Cole, Whitbread, McDonald’s, Greggs and Amazon Fresh UK, with Waitrose performing particularly well picking up not only a Cage-free Award but two Retailer Awards as well.

This year, a total of 14 awards were presented to retailers from around the world including four who received Good Rabbit Commendations. French retailers Monoprix, the Schiever Group and Système U were awarded for their commitment to source all their fresh rabbit meat from cage-free, higher welfare park systems – and LIDL in Belgium who also received the Good Rabbit Commendation for its policy of sourcing all of its fresh and processed rabbit meat from cage-free systems, in collaboration with its supplier Lonki.

Retailer brands Franprix, Casino Supermarchés and Leader Price, belonging to the French retail group Casino, together own 7741 stores in France. The Casino Group, whose aspiration is to improve farm animal welfare across its supply chain through an active and solid policy, has committed to stop selling caged eggs in all the Franprix, Leader Price and Casino supermarchés stores in France by 2020. Compassion applauded this important decision by giving them a Good Egg Award.

Amazon Fresh entered the UK market in 2016 and currently deliver to 260 London, Surrey and Hampshire postcodes. Following the flurry of commitments from UK retailers last summer, to stop selling eggs from caged hens by 2025, they decided to go one step further and stop selling eggs from caged hens now. For this they received a Good Egg Award.

It is now safe to say that all the major UK retailers have committed to using only cage-free eggs, four out of the five leading Italian retailers have current policies or have made public cage-free commitments, while seven out of the eight top French retailers have also committed to going entirely cage-free.

Compassion is asking companies to go further and end all cages across all species. Reflecting this they introduced a new award this year – the Cage Free Award – a somewhat challenging award, requiring companies to commit to ending the use of cages for laying hens, quail, rabbits and ducks, as well as stalls and farrowing crates for sows, for their full range of fresh, frozen and ingredient products. Compassion was delighted to award five companies at the ceremony including retailers Whole Foods Market (US), Waitrose (EU) and Marks & Spencer (EU).

Steve McLean, agriculture manager, M&S said: “We are delighted to have received this award, which recognises our commitment to delivering leading standards of farm animal welfare. We firmly believe that good animal welfare is critical to delivering the great quality food our customers expect from us.”

Waitrose deserve a special mention, however, not just for receiving a Cage Free Award but for its success in the Retailer Awards winning both the Best Retailer Marketing Award and overall Best Retailer Award. Recognition was given for their ‘Everything we do goes into everything you taste’ campaign, focussing on their dairy grazing pledge, which has increased from 100 to 120 days, and on their eggs which are free-range for both shell eggs and the eggs used in their products as ingredients. The campaign has been heavily televised and promoted on social media, via the national press, instore with point of sale, and even live streamed onto big screens at Waterloo Station. The campaign has been so successful, that Waitrose are planning to extend the campaign activity on farm animal welfare this autumn.

Compassion was also especially delighted to award Tesco for Best Innovation for their leading work to introduce a humane slaughter system for sea bass and sea bream into commercial practice. Rejecting the commonly used method of chill-killing conscious fish, which can take up to 10 minutes before unconsciousness and death occurs, Tesco worked closely with their farmers and processors to develop a more humane and rapid process. The fish are humanely pumped onto the harvest vessel where they are electrically stunned and rendered unconscious which lasts to death following immersion in ice-slurry. Effective stunning until death occurs, is not only more humane but has product quality benefits too.

Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion in World Farming said: “We have witnessed significant progress on farm animal welfare policies and practices since Compassion launched its Good Egg Award 10 years ago. The Food Business programme has evolved and expanded over those years and I’m particularly proud that we have played a significant role in change – and the commitment and pledges to change – in order to benefit the lives of more than one billion farm animals.

“It’s an amazing time to be involved in the animal welfare arena: cages for laying hens are being consigned to the history books, the plight of the broiler chicken is being taken seriously, and industry is leading the charge on cage free systems for rabbits and pigs. I congratulate all our award winners this year and promise that Compassion will continue to work collaboratively with our winners and corporate partners to ensure the commitments and pledges they have made come to fruition.”

Full list of winners:

Good Egg Award Winners

Casual Dining Group (Food Service – UK)

Whitbread (Food Service – UK & DE)

Greggs (Food Service – UK)

Ella’s Kitchen (Food Service – UK)

Camst (Food Service – Italy)

Noodles & Company (Food Service – US)

Shake Shack (Food Service – US)

Quorn (Manufacturer – Global)

Abel & Cole (Manufacturer – UK)

Danone ELN (Manufacturer – EU)

Herta (Manufacturer – FR)

Aryzta (Manufacturer – FR)

Amazon Fresh UK (Retailer – UK)

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (Retailer – US)

Casino (Retailer – FR)

Good Chicken Award Winners

Dodu Rotisserie Francais (Food Service – China)

La Poste (Food Service – FR)

Abel & Cole (Manufacturer – UK)

Cook (Manufacturer – UK)

Système U (Retailer – FR)

Good Dairy Commendation Winner

McDonalds (Food Service – UK)

Good Calf Commendation Winner

Chaco Meat Co. (Manufacturer – Australia)

Good Pig Award winners

Madeo Tenuta Corone (Manufacturer – IT)

Marcos (Manufacturer – ES)

Woodalls (Manufacturer – UK)

Good Sow Commendation Winner

Shake Shack (Food Service – US)

Good Rabbit Commendation Winners

Lidl (Retailer – Belgium)

Système U (Retailer – FR)

Schiever Group (Retailer – FR)

Monoprix (Retailer – FR)

Cage Free Award Winners

Waitrose (Retailer – EU)

Whole Foods Market (Retailer – US)

M&S (Retailer – EU)

Jamie Oliver Group (Food Service – Global)

Pret (Food Service – Global)

Best Retailer Innovation Award 2017  

Tesco – UK

Best Retailer Marketing Award 2017      

Waitrose – UK

Best Retailer Award 2017    

Waitrose – UK

Chinese Awards – these are awarded according to criteria that equate to stars, five stars being the highest achievement

Good Pig Production Award Winners

Sichuan Tianrui Renhe Ecological agriculture and animal husbandry development Group Co.Ltd (*4)

Yichun Baoyu Agricultural Technology Co.Ltd. (*4)

ShunXing Black Pig Farming Cooperatives (*4)

Handan Tianying Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd (*4)

Handan Furun Ecological Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd (*4)

Sanmenxia Chuying Agro-Husbandry Co. Ltd (*4)

Nine Pine Tree Ecological Agriculture Co.Ltd (*3)

Farm6 of Hebei Yufeng Jingan Breeding Co. Ltd (*3)

Sishuiquanrun Animal Husbandry Co., Ltd. of Yurun Group (*3)

Yuncheng Yanhu Xinlongfeng Livestock Co. Ltd.  (*3)

Sixth Branch Factory of Nanyang Wolong Muyun Farming Co.Ltd (*3)

Jiujiang Bolai Agriculture Ecology Garden Co.Ltd  (*3)

Hubei Aodeng Animal Husbandry Technology Co. Ltd (*1)

Shanxi Shunxin Breeding Co. Ltd. of Shunxin Agriculture (*1)

Good Egg Production Award Winners

Jinji Village Breeding Base of Guizhou Liujiang Livestock and Poultry Co Ltd (*5)

Yeshan Gong Chicken Eco-Breeding Demonstration Farm of Jiangsu Ningchuang Agriculture Science and Technology Development Co.Ltd (*5)

Shandong Huashengjiangquan Agri-Husbandry Development Co. Ltd (*5)

Henan Aimu Agriculture Co. Ltd  (*5)

The Greenay Farm of Beijing Lvduole Agriculture Co. Ltd (*5)

Pinghedong Breeding Base of Zhanjiang Shanyu Ecological Agriculture & Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd (*4)

The Welfare Layer Field of Hubei Shendan Healthy Food Co. Ltd (*4)

Wangqing Qianwang Underforest Breeding Co. Ltd (*4)

Good Chicken Production Award Winners

Shandong Huashengjiangquan Agri-Husbandry Development Co. Ltd (*5)

The Greenay Farm of Beijing Lvduole Agriculture Co. Ltd (*5)

Yeshan Gong Chicken Eco-Breeding Demonstration Farm of Jiangsu Ningchuang Agriculture Science and Technology Development Co. Ltd (*5)

Pinghedong Breeding Base of Zhanjiang Shanyu Ecological Agriculture & Animal Husbandry Co. Ltd (*4)

Commercial Broiler Farms of OSI Group (Weihai) Poultry Development Co. Ltd (*3)

Broiler Farms of Hubei CP Co. Ltd (*3)

No.1 Commercial Broiler Farm of Gongqing Farm of Beidahuang Baoquanling Agri-Husbandry Development Co.,Ltd.-Heilongjiang Beisanxia Breeding Co. Ltd (*3)