Animal welfare

European Farm Partners working with farmers

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 dedicated to improving animal welfare, and we stand committed – long-term – to the following:

Improving animal welfare

Minimising confinement

Minimising confinement

Reducing surgical procedures

Reducing surgical procedures

Improving their environment

Improving their environment

Increasing living space

Increasing living 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 UKAS 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.

Animal welfare timeline

Our timeline shows how we have launched farm assurance and pig welfare schemes across Europe since 1999. Our schemes were years ahead of the 2013 enforcement of the partial ban on sow stalls.

  • 2000

    Implementation starts

  • 2002

    First-to-market own-label pig welfare scheme launched

  • 2004

    Version 1 – Continental Pig Scheme across Europe

  • 2006

    Launch of supply chain management system

  • 2007

    Commence Spanish welfare schemes and launch Spanish welfare in the UK

  • 2011

    Commence French welfare schemes

  • 2012

    Engage with Compassion in World Farming

  • 2015

    Awarded Good Sow Commendation – Italy

  • 2016

    Win Good Pig Award – Italy Good Sow Commendation – Spain

  • 2017

    Win Good Pig award – Italy & Spain

  • 2018

    – Presented with CIWF Special Recognition Award
    – EFP UKAS Pig Module accreditation

  • 2020

    Win Good Sow Commendation – France

  • 2021

    EFP UKAS Pig Module v2 available

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.

David Houghton receives the Winterbotham Darby Special Recognition Award from CIWF in 2018

Good Sow Commendation
Good Sow Commendation

2015 – Fumagalli, Italy

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

Good Pig Award
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
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.

Animal health and welfare day

In 2016 we co-hosted our first animal welfare event – dedicated to the sharing of methods, technology, and programmes at the forefront of animal welfare in the food industry.

This now annual event, sees industry experts and renowned academics 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 attendance list spans UK retailers: agricultural and technical teams, Winterbotham Darby production partners, individuals from leading animal welfare charities, and industry specialists.

Animal welfare day 2021 – our next event will be held virtually on Friday 26th March. The webinar is entitled ‘what does the future of sustainable pig farming look like?‘ To register click here

2020 welfare day presentations here

2020 animal health and welfare event

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We first bought chorizo to the UK in 1990 and it's still so popular 31 years later! Whatever the weather this Spanish favourite is amazing in a range of dishes. It certainly doesn't disappoint in this delicious potato and chorizo hash with some delicious runny eggs nestled on the top. Breakfast or lunch, you decide. What's your favourite chorizo dish? ...

Although nothing compares to seeing photographs hanging in a gallery , this 'virtual' exhibition of the 2021 @foodphotoaward is a close second. It gives a taster of what is to come in November when an exhibition of this year's finalists goes live at @royalphotographicsociety. Click on the link in our bio and take a wander round - not forgetting to check out Winterbotham Darby Food For Sale, obviously. ...

If you're in this weekend (and let's face it - most of us are) then why take a foodie trip with @marksandspencer's Italian night family dine in. Call us biased but we love the 'Nduja Meatballs with Pappardelle which is a dish in the deal. *whispers* It might be something to do with the fact that the 'nduja is one of our favourite products. And that we supply it through our foodservice team. But, despite our bias it really is a star in our range of Italian continental products and that's what we're about - delivering fresh and flavourful products. ...

🏆 Congrats to @smithfoto59 🏆 - winner of our Food For Sale category at last night's @foodphotoaward with his image Street Vendor. 📸 A gorgeous picture with beautiful tones. We can't but marvel at the ingenuity of the woman's stall made out of a pram - perfect for mobile sales.
We love this category as it's so close to our hearts (being in the business of selling food ourselves) and echoes our passion for delivering happiness through food.
To see all of the finalist images across the awards click the link in our bio ☝️
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Delighted, once again to be part of the @foodphotoaward and to sponsor the Food For Sale category. Good luck to all the shortlisted photographers and filmmakers. We'll be watching with our fingers crossed for you all later
🤞🏿🤞🏾🤞🏽🤞🏼🤞🏻

It’s finally here!
Join us this evening 20:00BST on @youtube to celebrate the @foodphotoaward Awards hosted by @fred_sirieix
Reposted from @foodphotoaward
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We've been friends with Spanish continental meats since 1992 when we first introduced them to the UK market. They've gone from strength to strength becoming a firm favourite with many shoppers. Today it's a brunch of dreams featuring Spanish chistorra, tomatoes, cubed potatoes and eggs. One pan, MAXIMUM flavour and minimal washing up. What's your brunch favourite? ...

#Fact - in one single day this week, we produced a record-breaking 213,000 pots of olives and antipasti. So it's official, the British consumer loves olives! Are you a lover or a hater? ...

We're big fans of the med diet and the tomato is so integral to that. So today we're closing our eyes, opening a pot of @foodsunearthed slow roasted tomatoes and savouring the memories of being somewhere warm and sunny. Extremely versatile, they can be enjoyed straight out of the pot, or are great as an ingredient - just like in these cous-cous and roasted tomato stuffed peppers. How do you prefer to eat yours? ...

📣 If you're vegan, a flexitarian or just like tasty food - then this is one for you. New ready-to-eat @squeakybeanveg Chargrilled🔥 Cajun Mini Fillets. No messing around. The taste and texture are a game changer. Well done to the plant-based team for creating something magical - now available in 200 @asda stores ...

Happy day of chocolate 🍫 . Celebrate with pimped up pancakes plus a drizzle of chocolate sauce and fruit. Oh and to top it off we added cream. But this isn't just any old pancake stack - it's a VEGAN stack (check out our very own @squeakybeanveg) as it's all plant-based on here. Enjoy your day and tell us what you're eating? ...

With a long weekend ahead of us, we can take it easy right? More time for lazy mornings which means a nice brunch. We've made ours with smoked brunswick ham, but you could add prosciutto, parma or speck for a touch of decandce. Add tea, coffee or juice and RELAX 🍳 ☕ ...

🐟 If you love fish then this is one for you - pan fried cod with roasted vegetables, rosemary roasted potatoes and sliced chorizo. Chorizo is one of our most popular continental meat products. Many years on after we first launched it to the UK retail market consumers love it just as much as they always have done. What's your favourite way to eat chorizo? happy Friday 🐟 ...

📣 The long awaited shortlist for the @foodphotoaward is now live!! 📷 This year has seen a bumper crop of gorgeously creative entries. We're delighted to see what's in our 'Food For Sale' category. So grab a drink, click above and scroll through to see what gorgeous images have been shortlisted. Is one of yours on there - let us know? Click the link in our bio to go straight to our 'Food for Sale' category ⬆️ ...

We understand consumers and we know that on shelf appeal and pack stand-out is so important. After research and trial, our @foodsunearthed brand have re-designed their packs using stronger, eye catching use of colour and a disruptive use of pattern (we love that nod to the Med too). Look out for new olive packs in @waitrose and @ocadouk. What's your favourite? ...

It's might be #BritishPieWeek but we think it's perfectly acceptable to add a little continental twist. Our pancetta, either smoked or unsmoked, is great to add to add flavour. Just like in this chicken & mushroom pie. The ultimate in comfort, made with authentic ingredients. We deliver happiness through food. What's your favourite pie? ...

Today is National Pig Day. Our welfare journey began in 2000 & since then we've been improving the welfare of pigs by working with @CIWF

We're committed to the following: + considerably more space for each pig + larger breeding facilities for each sow + free farrowing and +no pigs subjected to tail docking or teeth clipping.

These commitments have led to us, along with some of closest farming partners, to win awards and achieve what was considered 'impossible' in Europe. We thank them all for their dedication and pledge to continue the work with them.
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What does the future of sustainable pig farming look like? Why not join our webinar on Fri 26th March (09.45 - 12.00 GMT) and find out. We’ll set the scene on the future for food, sustainability and livestock, share some case studies, but also talk about how we can validate the data. Plus we’ll run a panel discussion to wrap things up. 🐷 🐖

The line-up includes speakers from Food Ethics Council, University of Leeds and Authenticate, as well as a panel discussion hosted by CIEL Livestock. Click the link in our bio to register. ⬆️
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We've done it! We've won 'Plant Based Manufacturing Company of the Year' at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards. Great recognition for a mammoth project. We spotted a gap in the plant-based market for ready-to-eat chicken style pieces so created a unique product (@squeakybeanveg) with great taste and texture. We secured investment & fitted out a brand new 100% plant-based site to manufacture it - all in 13 months. So great to get recognition for that. Congratulations to the entire #team ...

Quick quiz..🤔 You knew this was a) plant-based and b) that you could get this kind of deliciousness in a box, delivered to your door, ready to cook? Right? If not then check out @hellofreshuk who now include @vivera_UK in their plant-based boxes. Big thumbs up to our #foodservice team who have been involved in the project too. ...