18th May, 2018| Animal Welfare

We have a long heritage with animal welfare and farm assurance – our journey really started in 1999, then in 2002 we launched our first farm assured scheme in Italy. Since then we have progressed welfare in a way which enables us to stand out, showing commitment to an area which is often overlooked; considered too expensive or in the ‘too difficult’ box.
But to truly lead, you need to have set some rules by which to operate. So in 2015 our animal welfare team started to outline the Winterbotham Darby pig scheme – a set of welfare benchmarks based on our higher welfare standards.

The journey has entailed many elements. Initially technical approval, via a working group comprising a UK retailer, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), European Farming Schemes, a UK farm and a vet. The next stage was a review by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Scheme ISO/IEC 17065:2012) to audit our paperwork. Following this, the practical element saw KIWA Agri-Food (our independent auditors) be reviewed as to how they carried out their assessment of our farms. To effectively witness the auditor auditing against the standard. These reviews were carried out on three sites.   This was all completed successfully and our standard gained approval in April 2018.

EFP – Pig module accreditation

So we now have the first pan-European accredited standard for welfare, comprising of three tiers; bronze, silver and gold. Those farms certified to the gold tier will operating to the highest welfare standards in Europe.  What is unique about our pig module is that our standard covers the entire element of the supply chain; breeding (freedom farrowing, space etc.), rearing, finishing, transport and slaughter. It also takes into account health & welfare – commitment (space, light, no surgical procedures) antibiotic usage & medicine, feed, veterinary procedures, biosecurity, pest control.  David Houghton, Technical Director for Winterbotham Darby says:

“Through a collaborative effort, working with our supply partners, farmers, retailers and NGOs we’ve now produced the first pig welfare standard of its kind. It can be implemented across the whole of Europe, taking into consideration the different production systems. It is a tiered system which we can use to encourage farmers to continually improve their standards. This is a fantastic accomplishment, not just for us, but also a step forward in pig welfare.”

Farm assessments

Our farm assessments are carried out by Kiwa Agri-Food, a company who specialise in farm certification. We have worked with them since 2001 and they audit all elements of our supply chain.  Ian Burton, General Manager of Kiwa Agri Food said:

“I am really delighted that Kiwa Agri Food has achieved this well-deserved accreditation to certify the Pig module for Winterbotham Darby’s European Farm Partnership Animal Welfare Scheme. It reflects our ambition to facilitate ever higher standards in the sector and advance animal welfare across Europe”

For more information about the Winterbotham Darby European Farm Partnership Scheme contact Susie White, our Communications Manager.