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.

See our 2020 welfare day presentations here

2020 animal health and welfare event

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This account is now inactive, please follow @compleat_food (The Compleat Food Group) for updates and news about the business formerly known as @wb_darby (Winterbotham Darby) ...

However or wherever you spend today, we wish you a Happy Christmas surrounded by friends or loved ones. Cheers to you. ...

One last push until the BIG day 🎄 🎅 and a massive thank you to our teams, colleagues, suppliers and partners who have worked tirelessly to get our products on the shelves. Tonight we hope that everyone can put their feet up and at last pour themselves a glass/cup/mug of their favourite beverage or tipple. Cheers everyone ...

Weekends were made for catching up and And our products are perfect for that. Sharing platters, nibbles and canapes - whatever way you want to enjoy them. Head into the festive season with the Med's finest olives and antipasti. ...

After a covid-enforced year away, we are delighted that the wonderful @foodphotoaward Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year exhibition is back. On until 12th December, you can see all all the finalist images in their full printed glory at @royalphotographicsociety in Bristol. As well as the Food for Sale category (which we sponsored) there are another 23 categories to view. It really is who's who in food photography excellence. ...

Who says plant-based eaters are missing out? 🤔 Our @squeakybeanveg chargrilled cajun mini fillets have all the taste & texture of their meat counterparts AND you can eat them cold or heat them up. So, pizza lovers, just add them to your regular favourites & cook up a storm. Perfect 👌 🍕 ...

📣 A big cheer for our Simon Dancy - Group Planning Manager. Next Sat he takes on the Ultra Clarendon walk (52 miles) 👏 to fundraise for @naomiandjack - hospice care for children & young adults. Despite some previous knee injuries Simon is determined to do this and raise money for this worthy cause. So if you fancy lending your support too, please click the link in our bio to donate. It's been a tough year for all charities and so every penny is v.gratefully received ♥ ...

It's the end of the week and we think it's all about an easy dinner. 😍 Our chorizo is perfect for one pot dishes. This one combines chilli, garlic, onion, pepper, tomatoes, cannellini beans, chorizo, mushrooms and mixed herbs - cooked for about 40 mins on the hob. Mop it all up with a bit of bread or for extra carbs - mashed potato. Happy Friday chorizo lovers ...

Time out. ⛔ Today we're relaxing, so for an easy lunch we've grabbed a few bits for a continental ploughmans - wafer-thin smoked ham, chargrilled artichokes, olive & sundried focaccia & a wedge of dolcellate. And relax.. Happy bank holiday if you're lucky enough to have the day off. ...

There's something so good about a toasted sarnie 😇 & one of the most popular is cheese and ham. Today we've subbed in a smoked German Brunswick instead of a traditional English ham. Just as tasty and gone just as quick ⚡ What tickles your toastie tastebuds? ...

We are absolutely thrilled that TWO of our our favourite products are finalists at the @thegrocerofficial New Product Awards - @squeakybeanveg - plant-based chargrilled cajun mini fillets and @foodsunearthed pastel de nata. Well done to our passionate & innovative brand teams. Have you tried them? What do you think - are they winner-worthy?

🍔 Today is #NationalBurgerDay and we're all in favour of the accompaniments. Whether you're eating plant-based 🌱 or enjoy meat our @foodsunearthed slow roasted tomatoes 🍅 and @vadaszdeli red onion pickles are a tasty addition. What's your favourite topping? ...

If there's one thing more we love than brunch, it's a super simple brunch. Our @VadaszDeli kimchi helps tick that box. Take your favourite bagel, add a fried egg and some bacon (plus a slice of cheese if you're feeling fancy) then spoon over a generous helping of delicious spicy and crunchy raw kimchi. You're good to go 🌟 🍳 🥕 💥 ...

Entries are now open for (@foodsunearthed) unearthed® Food For Sale - a category of (@foodphotoaward) Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Award. This year we’re supporting via the unearthed® Food For Sale category. Attracting evocative, beautiful and educational images the category is all about very best shots of food for sale. It could be a farmers market in France, spices in Senegal, macaroons in a chic Parisian emporium or coconut pancakes from a Thai floating market. Basically images of buying and selling food in shops and on the street anywhere in the world. Check out @foodphotoaward for more info ...

Are you a meat-eater and fancy trying something different and a bit special? Why not try Spanish Ibérico pork? Our award-winning free range ibérico from South West Spain is available in our @foodsunearthed range. If you've not heard of it before, you can treat it a bit like steak and it's delicious served with watercress and chunky fries. Discover a world of flavour ...

You might not be able to get there right now, so let us transport you to Portugal and enjoy a traditional @foodsunearthed Pastel De Nata - delicious traditional crispy puff pastry tarts filled with a heavenly custard. unearthed® have done all the hard work so you just have to pop the oven on, grab a coffee and if you're feeling fancy - add a little dusting of cinnamon. Available in @waitrose ...

#fishlessfriday anyone? Throwback to the @squeakybeanveg February takeover when Sam @nomeatdisco created a loaded fishless finger sarnie stuffed full of mushy peas, tartare sauce & chunky wedges. Immense, quick, easy and absolutely delicious. Go tuck into tasty...😋 🌱 ...

We really cherish our long-standing relationship with international charity @actionagainsthungeruk. We donate 1p for every pack of @foodsunearthed products sold and amazingly, all those pennies we've been collecting since 2010 have now totalled £854,000! This helps them with their incredible work saving the lives of malnourished children and supporting their families beat hunger. To read more about them, click the link in our bio ...

In true British style #nationalpicniweek hasn't quite delivered on the weather ☔ . But ANY kind of picnic counts so even an indoor carpet picnic works for us. Of course, no such event is complete without a quiche, so here's ours - with our hugely popular semi-dried tomatoes and olives. We love how versatile they both are. Happy picnic-ing (and come on please sun) 😎 ...