We’re delighted with the Co-op’s latest announcement that from July this year all of their own-brand fresh pork, bacon, sausage, gammon and ham will be sourced from 100% outdoor-bred pigs on RSPCA Assured farms.
This means that all the pigs within their producer group across the UK will be born outdoors and raised in well-ventilated, spacious straw barns to strict RSPCA welfare standards.
40% of the UK pig herd are outdoor bred and the advantages are paramount: sows are not confined in farrowing crates but are free to build their nests in straw-bedded huts and interact effectively with their piglets; straw barns give the meat pigs more space to live and the opportunity to perform important natural behaviours such as rooting, foraging and digging, providing the opportunity to operate without tail docking.
The Co-op’s 100% outdoor promise is set to be rolled out across both their standard and premium Co-op ranges, giving their shoppers the confidence that all their pork products are produced responsibly and ethically – and are made available at affordable prices.
Jo Whitfield, Retail CEO, Co-op, said: “Our customers and members shop with us because they know we are as passionate as they are about animal welfare.
“The highest animal welfare standards should not just be the preserve of top-tier products and we want to ensure that the very best quality British pork is available at everyday affordable prices.”
Compassion’s Director of Food Business, Tracey Jones said: “We wholeheartedly congratulate the Co-op for making this move to higher welfare pig production across both their standard and premium own brand products. By doing so they are not only addressing key issues such as confinement and the need to provide pigs with a stimulating environment, but they are making higher welfare the norm and meeting their customers’ expectations.”
The Co-op’s move to higher welfare pig production accompanies their higher welfare credentials for both laying hens and dairy cows too:
The Co-op received a Good Egg Award in 2008 for using only free-range whole and ingredient eggs in their own-brand products.
The Co-op’s commitment to ensuring pasture access and good health and welfare for dairy cows and for rearing dairy calves in higher welfare systems earned them a Good Dairy Award in 2011.