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Compassion works with the world’s leading food businesses (food retailers, manufacturers and food service companies) that have the biggest impact and ability to effect change on a large scale.Industry Sectors
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Through our Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, we recognise market leading food companies for their current policies or commitments that result in positive impacts on farm animal welfare across their supply chains.Apply
News & Discussion
Fridays signs up for Better Chicken!
New survey shows organic farm antibiotic use ‘four times’ lower than the UK national average
Global food producers take lead on farm animal welfare in latest Benchmark results
Burger King (UK) commits to Better Chicken!
New Report Highlights Welfare and Environmental Issues in Scottish Salmon Farming
KFC France signs up to the Better Chicken Commitment
Animals to be formally recognised as sentient beings in UK lawRead more
Co-op cuts cost of plant-based foods to match price of meat in drive for lower carbon lifestylesRead more
Dairy calf collection centre opens for business in CDRead more
Good Egg Award
Recognition of companies that use or have committed to use cage-free eggs or egg products.
Since 2007, the Good Egg Award has recognised companies that use or have committed (within five years) to use cage-free eggs or egg products.
To date more than 99 million laying hens are set to benefit each year from our award winners’ policies.
It takes more than 6.5 billion laying hens to produce the eggs required for the global egg market, with over 60% of hens kept in industrialised caged systems.
Minimum conditions for the protection of laying hens are set out in the EU Directive (Council Directive 1999/74/EC), which has banned the use of the barren battery cage since 1 January 2012.
In the EU, there are over 360 million laying hens kept for egg production each year, and around 38 million in the UK. Over 50% are housed in cages, the majority of which are ‘enriched’ cages, which although legal in the EU, are still confinement systems.
In the USA, nearly all laying hens are confined in barren battery cages.
Hens start laying regularly at around 18-20 weeks of age and commercially they lay for just over a year before being sent for slaughter. Most of their lives are therefore spent in confinement.
Good Chicken Award
Recognition of companies that use or are committing to use higher welfare chicken production systems in their supply chain.
The Good Chicken Award recognises companies that use or are committing to use (within five years) higher welfare chicken, by addressing the stocking density, breed and the need for environmental enrichment for broiler chickens.
To date over 243 million meat chickens are set to benefit each year from our award winners’ policies.
As of September 2017, we are also requiring companies to sign up to the longer term pledge contained in the 2026 European Chicken Commitment.
Worldwide chicken meat production and consumption is increasing: over 62 billion chickens are slaughtered annually for meat. This includes over 9 billion in China, around 9 billion in the USA, over 7 billion in the EU-28 and around 942 million in the UK.
The UK produces around 1.4 million tonnes of chicken meat annually and 35.4kg of chicken meat is consumed per capita, per annum.
Globally, over 70% of meat chickens (broilers) are raised in industrial farming systems, the large majority in North America, Europe, South America and a rapidly increasing proportion in developing countries, such as China, Brazil and Indonesia.
Minimum conditions for the protection of meat chickens are set out in the EU Directive (Council Directive 2007/43/EC) which addresses the stocking density of broiler chickens.
Good Dairy Award
About the Good Dairy Award
The Good Dairy Award recognises companies that use or are committing (within 5 years) to use higher welfare dairy systems for cows and calves.
To date, more than 603 thousand dairy cows and calves are set to benefit each year as a result of our award winners’ policies.
There are over 250 million cows used to produce milk in the world, including around 37 million in the EU-28, 9 million in the USA and around 1.85 million in the UK. Commercial milk production is increasing rapidly in southern Asia, including countries that have not traditionally consumed a high volume of milk, such as China.
Developed countries typically use cows from specialised milking breeds. The Holstein-Friesian is the dominant breed in the UK and much of Europe and more than 90% of the USA herd are Holsteins – many of them pure Holsteins.
There is a wide variety of dairy production systems in the EU, ranging from permanently housed systems to extensive outdoor systems with rudimentary or no shelter. One of the most common systems in the EU is seasonal grazing with winter housing. Cow accommodation is typically in cubicle systems or straw yards, although tethering is still permitted and common in some countries.
There is no specific EU Directive setting out minimum conditions for the protection of dairy cows. Some assurance schemes (e.g. RSPCA Approved and Soil Association through their Assurewel project) are developing systems that monitor and set targets for improvement in key outcome measures, such as the incidence of lameness, mastitis, and poor body condition.
Minimum conditions for the protection of dairy calves are set out in Council Directive 2008/119/EC. Calves must not be reared in individual pens after 8 weeks of age, individual pens must not have solid walls (to give the calves visual and tactile contact with other calves), and they must have sufficient space to exercise, be fed colostrum within 6 hours of birth, be fed twice a day, and be provided with sufficient iron and fibre in their diet.
Good Pig Award
Recognition of companies that use or are committing to use higher welfare systems for sows and meat pigs.
The Good Pig Award recognises companies that use or are committing to use (within five years) higher welfare systems for sows and meat pigs.
To date, more than 3.1 million sows and meat pigs are set to benefit each year as a result of our Good Pig Award and our 2011 ‘Leadership in Pig Welfare’ award winners’ policies.
More than 1.38 billion pigs are slaughtered annually for meat worldwide. Over half these pigs are in China, which is home to over 700 million pigs. The next largest pig producers are the European Union (slaughtering over 313 million pigs a year), United States of America (around 111 million a year) and Brazil (over 34 million a year).
In the UK over 10 million pigs are slaughtered for meat annually and there are around half a million breeding sows and gilts (young sows). Although pigs are still kept in backyards and free-range systems, particularly in many developing countries, over half the world’s pig meat is produced in intensive systems.
Minimum conditions for the protection of pigs in the EU are set out in Council Directive 2008/120/EC. From 1 January 2013 all holdings must keep sows and gilts in groups starting from 4 weeks post service to 1 week prior to farrowing, provide permanent access to manipulable material, and provide sufficient quantity of bulky or high-fibre food as well as high-energy food. All holdings should already comply with the general provisions for rearing pigs. In particular, attention should be paid to the following:
- ‘Pigs should have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of material to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities, such as straw, hay, wood, sawdust, mushroom compost, peat or a mixture of such, which does not compromise the health of the animals.’
- ‘Neither tail-docking nor the reduction of corner teeth must be carried out routinely but only when there is evidence that injuries to the sows’ teats or to other pigs’ ears or tails have occurred. Before carrying out these procedures, other measures shall be taken to prevent tail-biting and other vices, taking into account environment and stocking densities. For this reason, inadequate environmental conditions or management systems must be changed.’
Good Rabbit Award
Recognition of companies that use or have committed to use higher welfare systems for does and meat rabbits.
The Good Rabbit Award recognises companies that use or are committing to use (within five years) higher welfare systems for does and meat rabbits.
To date, more than 8.4 million does and meat rabbits are set to benefit each year as a result of our Good Rabbit Award winners' policies.
Globally, around 920 million rabbits are slaughtered annually for meat, over half of which are in China – the world’s largest producer. More than 180 million rabbits are slaughtered annually in the EU, making rabbits the second-most farmed species in Europe. Over 70% of these are in Italy, Spain and France. The vast majority are raised in industrial caged farming systems.
There is no species-specific EU legislation to protect farmed rabbits and no specified minimum standards of welfare.
Recognition of supermarket industry leaders for improving farm animal welfare in the food supply chain
Supermarket retailers are vital to improving farm animal welfare in the food supply chain. The influence they have over the welfare standards adopted by food producers is enormous due to their buying power, the number of shoppers they attract, and their ability to promote one product over another.
Our Supermarket Survey forms the central focus of our engagement work with supermarket retailers. We have been conducting the supermarket survey biennially since 2001 and 28 retailers participated in the last survey in 2019.
The survey involves retailers completing a detailed questionnaire about their farm animal welfare policies, the inputs and practices in their supply chains and their use of key welfare indicators. The survey is split into six separate sections: overall approach to farm animal welfare; laying hens; broiler chickens; dairy cows and calves; sows and meat pigs; and (new for 2019) farmed fish.
The results of the questionnaire are used to produce a bespoke, comprehensive gap analysis report, scoring and ranking supermarkets anonymously against their peers.
The names of the retailers taking part in the survey are not disclosed publicly, nor privately to the other participating retailers. All data in the feedback reports is presented anonymously, typically showing the highest and lowest scores achieved for each area of performance, in order to maintain confidentiality.
Each supermarket’s feedback report provides companies with detailed recommendations to enable them to manage welfare in their supply chains more effectively.
The Supermarket Survey is open to all major European supermarkets and is provided free of charge to all participants.
Our biennial Retailer Awards (part of our Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards programme) are based on the Supermarket Survey results and are awarded for Best Retailer performance, Best Retailer Innovation and Best Retailer Marketing on farm animal welfare.
Companies participating in the Supermarket Survey are automatically considered for the Retailer Awards.
Covid-19 - Supermarket Survey pushed back a year
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to postpone the Supermarket Survey and Retailer Awards until 2022.
There were 28 entrants in 2018 and we hope to secure a similar number of participants in the next iteration.
Compassion will celebrate its ‘Retailer Awards’ again in 2022.
2019 Retailer Awards
The latest Retailer Awards were presented at the 2019 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards held on 27 June in Brussels.
Waitrose & Partners picked up both the overall Best Retailer Award for their high scores in the Supermarket Survey, and the Best Retailer Marketing Award and for their consistent and high level of communications on farm animal welfare with their recent ‘Waitrose & Partners’ campaign.
Casino received this year’s Best Retailer Innovation Award for their leading work to introduce the very first method of production labelling scheme in France.
Special Recognition Awards
For outstanding innovation, commitment or achievement in a particular area of farm animal welfare.
Special Recognition Awards are given to companies that demonstrate outstanding innovation, commitment or achievement in the field of farm animal welfare.
2019 Rabbit Innovation Award
In 2019, Compassion was delighted to recognise ‘Eleveurs et Bien’ with a Rabbit Innovation Award, for developing a cage-free system for rearing rabbits for their commercial brand Lapin & Bien. Find out more here.
2018 Special Recognition Award
Compassion was delighted to present Winterbotham Darby with the 2018 Special Recognition Award, which is kindly supported by the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Charitable Trust.
They picked up the award for developing their UKAS accredited animal welfare certification scheme which is driving welfare improvements and helping to secure cage-free commitments in the pig sector across Europe. Find out more here.
Other Special Recognition Awards
Overview of China Awards
China is the largest producer of pig meat, chicken and eggs in the world. As production continues to increase so has understanding of the animal welfare concept over the last few years and more producers and consumers are engaged with the topic.
For the past few years, Compassion has been working with a government-backed organisation – the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW) – in China to bring higher welfare practices into farm animal production.
Part of this programme has focussed on education, sharing information and conducting farm visits. The aim is to show Chinese producers how they can operate higher welfare production systems as a successful business.
This work culminated with the launch of the Good Pig Production Awards in 2014 which recognises Chinese producers for improving pig welfare, food safety and environmental standards. Key welfare improvements within the award criteria include free-farrowing, enrichment with straw, and avoidance of mutilations such as tail docking or castration.
Now in its fifth year the awards programme continues to encourage welfare improvements and commitments from pig producers.
Over 2 million pigs are now set to benefit from all of our Good Pig Production Award winners’ commitments and practices.
Alongside the Good Pig Production Awards, the programme was extended further and in 2017 the Good Egg Production Awards and Good Chicken Production Awards were launched. Key elements for the poultry awards include the use of cage-free systems, increased space allowance, use of slower growing or dual purpose breeds and provision of environmental enrichment.
Over 280 million birds are now set to benefit from our Chinese winners’ policies and practices.