Compassion in World Farming

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Compassion in World Farming is an animal welfare organisation, which campaigns and lobbys against the live export of animals, certain methods of livestock slaughter, and 'all systems of factory farming. CIWF is now a fast-growing and influential worldwide movement, present at many key decision-making forums from the United Nations to the World Trade Organisation. Its views are sought after and valued by policy makers.[1]

CIWF was founded in 1967 by Peter Roberts, a Hampshire dairy farmer, who had become increasingly troubled about the direction that post-war farming was heading. Appalled by the cages and crates that had started to become commonplace, Peter unsuccessfully appealed to the established animal charities, but his calls for higher welfare went unheard – so Peter Roberts and his wife Anna started CIWF in a back room.[1]

Standards

The different Standards Certification schemes can be confusing. Here's a brief overview.
  • Know Your Labels
  • The Red Tractor logo indicates that the food has met the standards of the Red Tractor scheme at every step in the supply chain. These standards are intended to ensure that: The food is safe; Animal health and welfare is "well cared for"; and the environment is protected from pollution. The flag on the logo identifies the country of origin of the food. Food which has been produced and / or processed in more than one Member State will use the flag of the EU.
  Red Tractor RSPCA Assured RSPCA-Assured-Mark.svg Soil Association Organic EU Organic
Indoor: Fast-growing birds, stocked to 38kg/m2,[Note 1] poor immune system, cardiac disease, kept indoor without daylight, no shed enrichment.[Note 2] Slower-growing birds, stocked to 30kg/m2, natural light, shed enrichment.
Free Range: Fast-growing birds, stocked to 27.5kg/m2, poor immune system, cardiac disease, shed enrichment, daytime outdoor access. Slower-growing birds, stocked to 27.5kg/m2, shed enrichment,[Note 2] daytime outdoor access.
Organic: Flock size limited to 1,000 birds. Outdoor space of 4 sq.m/bird; they must be able to get outside for at least one third of their life. They must also have continuous and easy daytime access to outdoor pasture or range covered with suitable vegetation; slaughter age is minimum of 81 days. EU maximum density for organic is 21kg/m2 (~10 birds), maximum flock size 4,800 birds.
The Independent:[2] Guarantees food is British and legal, but little else. Allows tail-docking and teeth-grinding of pigs, zero-grazing of dairy cows, long journeys to slaughter, and cramming of chickens into sheds.
Rating: 2/10
Higher standard of factory-farming, with ban on zero-grazing, more enrichment and a 6 hour limit for live transport of most species, but still far from perfect. Kinder than Red Tractor and cheaper than organic.
Rating: 5/10
Gold standard for animal welfare – with bans on breeds which place unfair burdens on animals, more space, and close monitoring of stunning and slaughter process. Much less cruel than Red Tractor, but also much more expensive.
Rating: 9/10

Notes
  1. ^ 38kg/m2 is about 17-18 birds per square metre.
  2. ^ a b "Shed enrichment" means eg. 1 straw bale to perch on for every 1,000 birds :(

Campaigns

Crappy Chicken: Bad for Them, and Bad for Us. Citizens are demanding higher welfare for farm aimals, and we are having an impact. Meat chickens are bred to grow so fast they’re ready for market as early as 33 days old. They struggle to walk because their legs can't hold them up; their muscles degenerate, leading to serious problems. The following companies have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment in Europe. So far only a few - but we can change all that by voting with our wallets.

  • Marks & Spencer have signed up for 100% of their fresh and ingredient chicken offers. They are the first UK retailer to do so, and aim to achieve their goal by 2026.
  • Nestle-2015-horiz.svg
    Nestle have said that all their food products in Europe that use chicken as an ingredient will move to the higher welfare standards by 2026.
  • Unilever-2004.svg
    Unilever is expanding its higher welfare chicken across all its bouillons and soups.
  • Danone.svg
    Danone is a world leader in infant nutrition, and recently committed to improve broiler welfare across their entire European supply chain.
  • Elior Group has committed to using only higher welfare chicken globally by 2026.

Retailer Awards

Retailer Awards are awarded for performance, innovation and communication in farm animal welfare. Supermarket retailers are vital to improving farm animal welfare in the food supply chain. The influence they have over the welfare standards adopted by food producers is enormous due to their buying power, the number of shoppers they attract, and their ability to promote one product over another.

Best Retailer: The Best Retailer Award goes to the company that achieves the highest overall score in surveys for broilers, laying hens, pigs, dairy cows and calves, and on the company’s overall approach to farm animal welfare.

  • 2017: Waitrose, for their "Everything we do goes into everything you taste" campaign.

Best Retailer Innovation: The Best Retailer Innovation Award recognises a company that has developed and delivered a successful project that has positively impacted farm animal welfare in a significant way.

  • 2018: SELEGGT GmbH has developed a method for identifying the sex of eggs before the embryo develops the capacity to feel pain. The male (and unfertilised) eggs can be humanely rejected early on. The firm was founded as a joint venture of the REWE Group and incubation technology firm HatchTech, in cooperation with the University of Leipig.
  • 2017:
    Tesco.svg
    Tesco, for their leading work to introduce a humane slaughter system for sea bass and sea bream into commercial practice.

Best Retailer Marketing: The Best Retailer Marketing Award is presented to the retailer that provides the best example(s) of work to communicate farm animal welfare to the consumer and to promote food products from higher welfare systems.

  • 2017: Waitrose, for their "Everything we do goes into everything you taste" campaign.

Special Recognition Award

The Special Recognition Award is given to companies that demonstrate outstanding innovation, commitment or achievement in the field of farm animal welfare.

  • 2018: Winterbotham Darby, for developing their UKAS accredited animal welfare certification scheme which is driving welfare improvements and helping to secure cage-free commitments in the pig sector across Europe.

Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards

Good Egg Award: recognises companies that use or have committed to use cage-free eggs or egg products within 5 years. In the UK, around 38m hens are kept for egg production each year, with over 50% being caged. Commercial hens start laying at around 18-20 weeks old, and they lay for just over a year before being sent for slaughter, so they spend most of their lives in "prison". Good Egg Award

Good Chicken Award: recognises companies that use, or have committed to use higher welfare chicken within 5 years, by addressing the stocking density, breed and the need for environmental enrichment. Chicken meat production and consumption is increasing: over 62bn chickens are slaughtered annually for meat - in the UK, around 942m are grown each year for 1.4m tonnes of chicken meat; 35.4kg of is consumed per person, per year. Good Chicken Award

Good Dairy Award: recognises companies that use or are committing to use higher welfare dairy systems for cows and calves within 5 years. There are over 250m cows used to produce milk in the world, including around 37m in the EU-28, 9m in the USA and around 1.85m in the UK. Good Dairy Award

Good Pig Award: recognises companies that use or are committing to use higher welfare systems for sows and meat pigs within 5 years. More than 1.38bn pigs are slaughtered annually for meat worldwide. In the UK, over 10m pigs are slaughtered for meat annually, and there are around 500,000 breeding sows and gilts (young sows). Over half the world’s pig meat is produced in intensive systems. Good Pig Award

Good Rabbit Award: recognises companies that use or are committing to use higher welfare systems for does and meat rabbits within 5 years. Worldwide, around 1.2bn rabbits are slaughtered for meat each year. More than 343m in the EU, making rabbits the second-most farmed species in Europe. The vast majority are raised in industrial caged farming systems. Good Rabbit Award

Sources: Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. Compassion in World Farming. Accessed Jun.22.2020.

References

  1. ^ a b Our Story. CIWF. Accessed Apr.15.2019.
  2. ^ Red Tractor logo no guarantee of animal standards, report claims. Martin Hickman, The Independent, May.01.2010.