Farm assurance and pig welfare

We take a farm partnership approach to unite the whole supply chain – from farmer and producer to customer – with the same vision and long-term commitment from all parties. This means that we ring fence farms and slaughterhouses so that animals are guaranteed for our use from the start of their life. This has now been developed and implemented across Spain, Italy, Belgium and France.

We are also dedicated to improving animal welfare and our long-term commitment is to the following:

– Minimising confinement
– Reducing surgical procedures
– Improving the environment in which pigs are kept, ensuring animals can express their natural behaviours and have access to bedding material
– Increasing space.

European Farm Partnership - UKAS accreditation

Underpinning animal welfare development has been our European Farm Partnership (EFP) scheme. This has been the driving force in delivering significant advances in farm animal welfare. Uniquely it brings together farmers and partners to share knowledge, learning and the latest industry technology and developments.

Having gained UK accreditation for our Pig Module in 2018, we now have the first pan-European accredited standard for welfare, comprising three tiers: bronze, silver and gold. Farms certified to the gold tier operate to the highest welfare standards in Europe.

Our Pig Module is unique in that it covers the entire element of the supply chain from breeding (freedom farrowing, space etc.) to rearing, finishing, transport and slaughter. The standard also takes into account health and welfare issues:

– Space, light, no surgical procedures
– Antibiotic usage & medicine
– Feed
– Veterinary procedures
– Biosecurity Pest control.

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Animal welfare timeline

Our timeline shows how we have launched farm assurance and pig welfare schemes across Europe since 1999. Many of these schemes were a first in continental Europe ahead of EU legislation in 2013.

Welfare awards

Since 2012 we have been working alongside Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), an organisation passionate about ensuring farm animals lead better lives.

Our work with CIWF has introduced industry-leading animal welfare standards for our farmers’ pigs including:
– Considerably more space for each pig
– Larger breeding facilities for each sow
– Free farrowing
– No pigs are subjected to tail docking or teeth clipping.

With these practices in place, we are delighted to report that our partners have won many awards.

Good Sow Commendation

2015 – Fumagalli, Italy
2016 – Madeo, Italy (Black pigs), Marcos, Spain (Iberico pigs)

Good Pig Award

The Good Pig Award recognises the work we carried out with Fumagalli for breeding sows and meat pigs. Throughout the partnership we have been able to address the major issues of confinement, mutilation and a lack of stimulating environment.

2016 – Fumagalli, Italy (Waitrose Italian Cured Meats)
2017 – Madeo, Italy and Marcos, Spain

Special Recognition Award

In June 2018, we received a Special Recognition Award at the Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. The award recognises companies that demonstrate outstanding innovation, commitment or achievement in a particular area of farm animal welfare.

The Special Recognition Award recognises the welfare improvements we have made in addressing and overcoming major issues such as confinement, mutilation and barren environments. The Award also takes into consideration our robust system that allows full traceability of the supply chain as well as the work we are doing to publicly communicate on welfare issues, raising awareness across the UK market.

Animal health and welfare day

In 2016 we co-hosted our first animal welfare event with the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences. Held at the university’s Langford Veterinary site, the day was dedicated to the sharing of methods, technology and programmes at the forefront of animal welfare in the food industry.

This annual event sees experts both from the University of Bristol and elsewhere discussing a range of topical subjects. The day also provides a great opportunity to showcase a range of collaborative opportunities between industry and academia, with a cross-species agenda.

The event attracts a diverse attendance from the industry including major retailer, agricultural and technical teams; Winterbotham Darby production partners; individuals from leading animal welfare charities; and businesses.

Animal Health & Welfare Day 2018

Here are the presentations form the 2018 animal health and welfare day, held on Thursday 8 March.

Please click each link below to download

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Animal Health & Welfare Day 2017

Our second Animal Health and Welfare Day was, once again, held at Bristol with a varied species agenda which covered fish, cattle, pigs and dairy. See below for available presentations which can be downloaded.

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Animal Health & Welfare Day 2016

In 2016 we held our inaugural animal health and welfare day, jointly hosted with University of Bristol – School of Veterinary Sciences. Held at their Langford Veterinary site, the day was dedicated to the sharing of methods, technology and programmes at the forefront of animal welfare in the food industry.

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