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 your interest, GET IN TOUCH

2020 welfare day presentations here

2020 animal health and welfare event

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Just a couple of weeks left to perfect your entries for the @foodphotoaward. We're proud sponsors of the 'Food For Sale' category and the judges are looking for the very best shots of food for sale, be it a farmers market in France, spices in Senegal, macaroons in a chic Parisian emporium or coconut pancakes from a Thai floating market. Images of buying and selling food in shops and on the street anywhere in the world. For more details on how to enter, click the link in our bio ☝🏼 ☝🏾 ...

However you like to eat, our delicious range of olives and vegetable antipasti products are perfect if you want to make your own pizza. You could keep it simple. Or add some flavour with salami, nduja or chorizo. And for those of you who like to eat plant-based you can get creative with our range plant-based marinated chicken style pieces. Something for everyone. We're passionate about delivering happiness through food. ...

yet ANOTHER launch, perfect if you're doing @weareveganuary. Or just because. Our @squeakybeanveg have launched Crispy Duck style pieces (plus hoisin & pancakes) for the ultimate in plant-based, tasty eating (without the stress of booking a takeaway slot). Head to @waitroseandpartners to enjoy ...

📣 📸 Calling all food photographers , videographers and food stylists- there is now less than a month to go until entries close for the @foodphotoaward. We are very proud to sponsor the 'Food For Sale' category. But would encourage anyone thinking about entering any of the 25 categories to GO FOR IT! You could win a category (like @zayyarlin84) or even be crowned Food Photographer of the Year (like @kmasad) and take home a £5k prize and a load of fantastic opportunities. Give it a go - 2021 might be your year! ...

Is that more or less than you thought? 🤔 Our Senior Insight Analyst, Alex, has been looking at how the lockdown has affected consumer retail grocery habits and impacted eating at home. To read more click the link in our bio 👆 ...

Last but NOT least are @squeakybeanveg ready-to-eat Garlic and Herb Chicken Style pieces. Available now at @waitroseandpartners - they're perfect for adding to dishes or just snack out of the pack. Another great way to make the plant-based switch even easier this #veganuary ...

Ok....launch #2. Meet @squeakybeanveg Chinese style ribs, with a delicious sticky sauce. Another one ready in just 5 minutes and these will make the plant-based switch even easier. The brand's first beef alternative is available in @sainsburys. What are you waiting for?? ...

New year and we've some delicious #plantbased launches - perfect if you're doing @weareveganuary. @squeakybeanveg are definitely your sidekick if you're hoping for all the taste but none of the meat. Meet the Katus Curry chicken-style pieces that are available in @sainsburys. With an aromatic sauce they're ady to eat in just 5 mins!! ...

Slightly different to previously billed, this new year's eve is a much quieter affair for everyone. Whether you're cooking up something special, ordering in or just enjoying a glass of something - we wish you a Happy New Year. We're making the most of the leftover Christmas olives! ...

Today when some of the team are enjoying the bank holiday, we say thanks to those who are working and it’s business as usual. Production & manufacturing, warehouse, supply chain & logistics colleagues. Making sure our tasty olives, antipasti, pickles and plant-based products reach the shelves.

#clitheroe #bicester #redhill #team

Leftovers, bubble & squeak, cold cuts, picky food, nibbles - whatever you want to call them! Our meats, olives and pickles are just PERFECT over the festive period. Relax, enjoy and take the strain out of the day. What's on your menu today? ...

A Happy Christmas from us to you. Here's to loved ones, friends and family - both near and far. ...

Instead of sending Christmas cards we've opted to donate to a fantastic cause @trusselltrust - working to stop UK hunger and poverty. Their network of foodbanks provide emergency food and support to people in crisis. Sadly there's never been such demand and so we want to do our bit to help. We still want to wish all of our contacts, followers, partners and customers a Merry Christmas. After a tough year Christmas won't be like it normally is, but we hope everyone has a chance to connect with loved ones and here's hoping for a brighter 2021. Take care of yourselves ...

Out of a number of our Christmas launches, this Bresaola Beef Carpaccio is a particularly tasty one - available at @marksandspencer. Just open and enjoy after adding the parmesan shavings, balsamic & olive oil drizzle. Even better if you have the patience to add it to a lovely serving plate (as opposed to straight out of the pack). ...

Do you mix and match your charcuterie? We love any combination of serrano, chorizo, speck or salami on a sharing platter with cheese, crackers, olives and grapes. Even if your Christmas is going to be a more modest affair or there will be less of you eating, you could still build a board. Go on, give it a try and let us know what'll be on there? ...

Another exciting launch 🚀 🎉📣 this time from @vadaszdeli with their Super Green Kimchi. Absolutely delicious, full of great gut-ness and available in @waitroseandpartners ...

“Awesome” is how the judges described our award winning @squeakybeanveg fluffy American style pancakes at today’s @thegrocerofficial #NewProductAwards.
Whoop whoop. We second that.