The Best Innovation Award recognises a company that has developed and delivered a successful project that has positively impacted farm animal welfare in a significant way.
The project has to demonstrate commercial success and potential to scale, and has already been implemented in practice (i.e. be beyond the research stage).
The winners’ submissions in this category are assessed by a panel of expert judges and are each awarded points for specific parameters which include the severity of the welfare issue addressed, the potential scale of the impact, and the level of innovation.
Special Recognition Awards
Of the entries for the 2021 Best Innovation Award not one, but two, applications stood out, both of which were awarded Special Recognition Awards.
Hilton Seafood UK received its award for being the first to commercially trial and adopt an electric stunner for warm water whiteleg shrimp, or King Prawns, which delivers a more humane method of slaughter than the usual thermal stunning by immersion in ice slurry.
In addition to its welfare benefits, which includes less handling and crowding of the prawns, it provides a more effective and consistent stun which reduces labour during harvest, while not being detrimental to product quality.
The system, which has been approved and rolled out across the Hilton/Tesco supply chain, will benefit more than 100 million animals in its first year.
William Davies, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Supply Chain Manager at Hilton Seafood UK said: “Hilton Seafoods UK take fish and crustacean welfare extremely seriously and actively seek out improved welfare methods and the latest research on welfare and animal handling. Working with our supplier partners we are very happy with the performance of the shrimp stunner, enabling both improved welfare at harvest and a harvest efficiency benefit for the farmer.
“Awareness of crustacean sentience is growing, and the implementation of the farmed shrimp stunner adds to the existing electrical stunning we have in all the wild caught crab and lobster we purchase.”
Read the case study to find out more.
The other winner of a Special Recognition Award within the Innovation category was Danone who was awarded for their global assessment tool for dairy cow welfare.
This new digital tool can be used on any tablet and helps farmers assess their farms, by measuring key inputs and welfare outcome measures - such as early colostrum feeding to calves, lameness, mastitis and body condition score - and creates an individual SMART Action plan for improvement.
Animal welfare is a key pillar of Danone’s Regenerative Agricultural Model and because the company deals with milk supply in 14 different countries, they wanted to develop a centralised tool that could be rolled out across their entire global supply chain, benchmarking all their farms against the same criteria.
By the end of 2020, over 400,000 dairy cows and 350,000 replacement young stock had been assessed using the tool, which allowed farmers to start implementing welfare improvements such as phasing out tail docking and dehorning.
Danone has also shared the tool with other companies and partners around the world, providing a global benchmark tool with a focus on animal welfare.
Cees Jan Hollander, Global Farming Expertise Manager at Danone said: “Having a global tool that provides clear guidelines and benchmarks motivates both the Danone team as well as the farmers on the most important topic of animal welfare.
“I hugely appreciate the team’s efforts in the different countries that are doing an amazing job by using this tool to significantly improve dairy cow welfare.”