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“We are committed to ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare

in all stages of our supply chain”

(excerpt form Marks&Spencer Food animal welfare policy)


Retailers are the link between producers and consumers which means they have an important role in ensuring and maintaining good animal welfare.

Many supermarkets have seen the need to place greater attention on farm animal welfare standards as an integral part of their corporate social responsibility.

Supermarkets have the ability to impose strict requirements in relation to the product they place on the market, in other words to promote animal based products of high quality.

Ideal supermarket of the future = animal welfare friendly

We hope that one day consumers will be able to shop in a supermarket where:

  • All red meat, poultry, milk, eggs and its derivatives would be free-range produced. The products would be be clearly labeled with specific labels.
  • No fish products would come from conventional intensive farms.
  • All animals kept for food production would be provided with suitable lining conditions in which they would be able to express their natural behaviour.
  • No animals would be subjected to mutilations such as tail-docking, teeth-clipping, beak-trimming or castration.
  • No products would be accepted from breeds of farm animal bred in such a way that makes major welfare problems unavoidable, such as fast-growing chickens, etc.
  • No products from genetically engineered or cloned animals would be accepted. No ‘waste’ animals would be produced, such as male dairy calves killed at birth.
  • No products would be accepted from animals treated with antibiotic growth promoters, nor those produced using genetically engineered production enhancers (e.g. bovine somatotropin – BST for dairy cows).
  • No exotic or luxury animal products would be sold that are produced from essentially wild animals or those where production imposes severe welfare problems (e.g. white veal, ostrich and emu meat, frogs’ legs, foie gras – goose liver paste, etc).
  • All animals would be slaughtered on the local abattoir to minimise journey times. No animals would be sourced from livestock auction markets.
  • All animals, including fish, would be slaughtered humanely using effective pre-slaughter stunning or instantaneous stun-kill methods.
  • Companies would strive to continually improve farm animal welfare by investment in research.
  • Companies would have a detailed farm animal welfare policy with targets that are actively reviewed on an annual basis.

Text adapted from CIWF 2007