Companies or brands that meet our awards criteria either because they are rearing animals in higher welfare systems now, or will change their systems to meet our criteria within 5 years, can win our prestigious awards.
Awards are given for various categories of products, such as fresh and frozen meat, whole eggs, liquid milk, or meat, eggs and dairy as ingredients.
The commitment period for change and the different categories allow companies to make progressive steps to improve animal welfare throughout their supply and product ranges.
More than 245 million broiler chickens with the potential to benefit
The Global Animal Partnership (GAP) is the creator of North America’s 5-Step® Rating Program for farm animal welfare. GAP recently committed to permit the use of only slower-growing broiler breeds over the next eight years for all levels of its 5-Step® Program, and for all levels to meet or exceed Compassion’s Good Chicken Award welfare criteria.
Leading US supermarket chain, Whole Foods Market (WFM) has also committed to implementing this new chicken standard across all its fresh and frozen chicken by 2024.
Compassion has worked with WFM and GAP for nearly a decade on their animal welfare standards across all species. This move is the first major, specific, time-bound commitment to address the negative effects of fast growth on chicken health and welfare in the USA, for which GAP and Whole Foods Market were recipients of our Special Recognition Award in 2016.
More than 102 million broiler chickens with the potential to benefit
Unilever’s largest brand Knorr is committed to sourcing all its raw agricultural materials sustainably by 2020.
Supported by high level commitment in both Knorr and Unilever, we are now working together towards sourcing its global meat ingredients (chicken, beef and pig meat) for its bouillon stock products from higher welfare systems.
We are changing attitudes to the surgical castration of male piglets and encouraging investment in welfare friendly alternatives by engaging with retailers and pig producers across Europe.
Part of this project includes working with a leading UK retailer on their Italian meat supply for speciality cured hams and charcuterie.
Pigs reared for these products are typically castrated before 7 days of age as they are grown to heavy weights past the point of puberty – where they become sexually aggressive and too lean to suit the product if not castrated.
An established vaccination to delay puberty in lighter weight males is being trialled for its suitability in these heavy pigs in a bid to stop their painful surgical castration, limit aggression and to ensure product quality.
Project status: In progress
More than 30 million broiler chickens set to benefit each year
Our work with Amadori, one of Italy’s leading chicken producers, has involved improving the leg health of the broiler chickens for their 10+ brand.
By measuring and recording the walking ability of broilers and by implementing active plans for improvement, we are gradually seeing health improvements in these fast growing birds.
Project status: In progress
Working with Danone we developed a practical guide to measure welfare outcomes in dairy cows. This comprehensive booklet was produced to raise farmers’ awareness on dairy cow welfare and provide them with best practice guidelines.
It was delivered to a number of Danone’s dairy farms across Europe, benefitting a significant proportion of the 4,500 farmers and 250,000 cows in their direct European milk supply.
Throughout 2014 we worked with Sodexo to shape their global program on farm animal welfare.
We helped them develop their global farm animal welfare policy and an engagement toolkit to ensure that all their suppliers of animal products sign the Sodexo Animal Welfare Charter. This Charter has already been signed by their major suppliers in many countries.
An additional 75,000 animals with the potential to benefit
Through our engagement with French producer cooperative, Terrena, we helped them build their 2020 animal welfare roadmap across several species.
This led them to develop an innovative cage-free housing system for meat rabbits, which will progressively replace the barren-cages currently in use, and earned Terrena a Good Rabbit Commendation in 2015.
We also helped them introduce improvement targets for their on-farm pig welfare assessments, covering over 75,000 pigs per year. A smartphone application is now used by their technicians to assess welfare, benchmark producers and provide technical advice for improvement.
Terrena is also trialling free farrowing systems for sows, and we continue to work closely with them to develop their higher welfare indoor chicken production.
Project Status: In progress
ENERGISING ETHICAL INVESTMENT
The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) - a powerful tool for change in the food industry.
BBFAW publicly ranks the world’s major food companies on their farm animal welfare policies and practices.
In 2015, 19 companies rose at least one tier in the ranking following improvements since the previous benchmark.
19 investment companies with more than £1 trillion of assets under management are collaborating via the BBFAW to encourage low ranking companies to improve their farm animal welfare policies and practices.
BBFAW is run by an independent secretariat and is co-funded by Compassion, World Animal Protection and investment firm Coller Capital.
Compassion’s contribution is kindly supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Find out more
TRANSFORMING CONSUMER AWARENESS
Delivering higher welfare messages to more than 1.5 billion consumers through our media and marketing activities with partners
Unfortunately not all our award winners stick to their promises. We openly report the companies who have made public commitments but then broken their promise to their customers.
To date, these broken promises had the potential to benefit more than 101 million animals each year.
Morrisons: We presented Morrisons with a Good Egg Commendation in 2008 when they committed to selling only free-range eggs under their own brand labels. However, they were stripped of their Award in 2012 when they decided to re-introduce eggs from caged hens across their own-brand M-Savers range.
The Co-operative Food (UK): Following their financial difficulties in 2012, The Co-operative Food, along with their supplier 2 Sisters Food Group, decided to increase the density at which their broilers were stocked, from 30kg/m2 (15 birds/m2) to 34kg/m2 (17 birds/m2).
As they no longer met our award criteria, we withdrew The Co-operative Food's Good Chicken Award in 2013.
Since then, we have heard The Co-operative will continue to increase stocking density to 38kg/m2 (19 birds/m2 for a 2 kg bird): this is equivalent to standard intensive production.
Coop Italia: Coop Italia withdrew from the Good Chicken Award in 2015.
Feeling economic pressure from competitors and imports, they reversed their decision to lower the stocking density of their broilers to a maximum of 30kg/m2, (which would have provided the birds with much valued additional living space). The company’s upper limit will now be bound by EU legislation of 39kg/m2 or 42kg/m2.
Coop Italia still remain true to their 2010 Good Egg Award commitment to sell only cage-free shell eggs.
Amadori’s 10+ Brand (Italy): Amadori is one of Italy’s major chicken producers. Their Good Chicken Award commitments have not been fully supported by other players in the supply chain, including Italian retailers.
Although withdrawing from the Good Chicken Award for the same reasons as Coop Italia, Amadori’s 10+ brand is committed to a maximum stocking density of 33kg/m2 and to implement environmental enrichment (such as straw bales and natural light) which they promote on pack.
They retain their 2012 Good Chicken Award for their Campese brand.
ASDA (UK): The Arla producers who supplied ASDA’s dedicated liquid milk supply, decided to become full cooperative members of Arla in 2014.
Milk into ASDA now comes from the Arla milk pool, and ASDA are therefore unable to guarantee that their milk comes from dairy cows with pasture access and that dairy calves are reared in higher welfare systems, so they have withdrawn from our Good Dairy Award.
We work closely with the companies that we have awarded to help them meet their commitments on animal welfare.
We will always try to find an alternative to withdrawing an Award. But if a company changes its policy and no longer meets the criteria for our award(s), we will retract the award and record this on our impact page.
Like any other business decision, commitments on animal welfare should be made for the long term, with the dedication and resources to ensure a company is able to deliver on its promise.
Unfortunately not all companies keep their promises.
There are many reasons why a company might go back on a previous commitment to animal welfare - unexpected financial turmoil is often cited. Whilst companies go back on commitments across species, unfortunately, the humble meat chicken is often the first to suffer. This is because:
Chickens are viewed as a commodity product (like milk), and not as sentient beings
Chicken production is all about high output at low margin
Companies can make more money (obtain higher gross margins) relatively easily by increasing the number of birds in each shed – even by only 2 birds per square metre
It’s easy to change the number of birds placed in each shed as there are no structural changes to be made
Chickens are sent to slaughter at a very young age (33 days onwards), and because they are unnaturally oversized and reared in crowded conditions, they are unable to exhibit their natural behaviours. If chickens were given the appropriate environment, with more space, enrichment and the opportunity to behave like chickens, then perhaps they would be viewed as sentient beings. And if chickens were viewed as sentient beings, then more people would want them to be reared in higher welfare systems which can make a meaningful improvement to their quality of life (as well as to the quality of our food).